Skip the Spa! 7 Inexpensive Ways to Reduce Stress

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Inexpensive Ways to Reduce Stress

A trip to the spa can be a welcome break from the distractions of everyday life and a wonderful way to get away from it all, but there’s one part of the experience that can actually cause stress: the bill! So before you book your next day trip, consider other, less expensive ways that you can relax, refresh and rejuvenate:

Eat stress-reducing foods. No, that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a tub of Häagen-Dazs to drown your sorrows. Instead you should look for foods that contain nutrients that help your body to regulate stress. For example, almonds contain zinc, which has been shown to manage stress; broccoli has high levels of folic acid, which helps to reduce panic, anxiety and depression; and carbohydrates help boost levels of serotonin, the “happy hormone,” which makes you feel calmer. Sushi also contains several different nutrients that can help reduce stress: B6, B12 and magnesium.

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Drink a cup of tea. Instead of reaching for a cup of joe, brew up some tea! Green tea contains stress-reducing antioxidants and chamomile tea is known for its relaxing effect. You’ll also be reducing your intake of caffeine, which can exacerbate stress responses. But don’t just grab your cup of tea and get going. Take your time, sit down and enjoy the experience of drinking it.

Meditate. A recent study at Harvard Medical School documented further evidence that meditation increases well-being. Participants were asked to meditate for 30 minutes a day over eight weeks. At the end of the study, scientists recorded an increase in gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory, and a decrease in gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. Not too bad! And best of all, it’s absolutely free. Not sure where to start? Check out this guide from Pick the Brain.

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Try laughter yoga. Combine two great ways to reduce stress. This form of yoga involves laughing for no reason as well as yogic breathing exercises, both of which bring about positive physiological and psychological benefits. Best of all, this form of yoga doesn’t cost you a dime. Laughter yoga clubs are free to join and found throughout the country. Often they meet in parks where you can enjoy the experience of being outdoors. Check to find a group near you.

Go for a walk. Turn off your cell phone and head to a nearby park. Put your worries out of your head and enjoy a leisurely stroll through nature. Take a human or canine friend along for company. For daily stress relief, get up a little earlier each morning to take a walk around your neighborhood. You’ll start off the day in a better mood.

Plan a spa day… at home! Start the evening off by asking your significant other for a nice massage. Maybe give yourself a manicure, a pedicure and a facial. Then draw up a warm bubble bath, light some scented candles and put on soothing music. Lay back and relax.

Take care of yourself. Eat better, get enough sleep and exercise. A body that is fit and well-rested can fight stress better. Instead of booking some time at the spa, carve out time to incorporate more activities that promote your physical well-being.

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