In the time it will take you to read this sentence, you could have done something to extend your life by a decade. The science has long been in: Stress can make you sick, leading to everything from common winter colds to chronic disease. Conversely, being happy is scientifically proven to lead to a longer life. Thankfully, you can chill out—now and in any stressful situation—in as little as one second, just by using these 10 proven, lightning-fast techniques. Employ them liberally—especially during the holidays. And for more longterm solutions, check out the 30 Easy Ways to Conquer Stress Once and For All.
1 Second: Go blue
Using swear words can reduce stress and boost camaraderie among coworkers, researchers found. Just make sure you’re in the right company when at your company—and choose your words carefully, so you don’t get in trouble with HR. As for what not to do, brush up on the 20 Mistakes That Will Only Compound Your Stress.
5 Seconds: Pop Fish Oil
People with the highest levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are happier and more agreeable. Try a 400 mg supplement daily. Fish like salmon are also high in omega-3s.
10 Seconds: Eat Dark Chocolate
The flavonoids in cocoa relax your body’s blood vessels. Go dark; skip milk chocolate.
30 Seconds: Get Acupressure
It’s a quick tension releaser and can reduce stress by up to 39 percent, Chinese researchers say.
30 Seconds: Sit Back
Leaning at a 135-degree angle is the best sitting position for alleviating back pain, scientists say.
1 Minute: Add Garlic
Its main ingredient relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow. And it’s not the only food that has near-medicinal qualities: Try eating more of the 50 Best Foods For Your Brain.
3 Minutes: Brew Tea
In one study, stressed-out men who drank tea saw their stress-hormone levels drop 47 percent!
5 Minutes: Watch Funny Videos
Just the anticipation of laughing reduces stress hormones by up to 70 percent, California researchers found.
8 Minutes: Budget Wisely
Men who don’t budget spend an average of 36 percent more on holiday gifts, according to a survey. For ideas on how to save this gift-giving season, don’t miss the 50 Best Last-Minute Gift Ideas.
10 Minutes (or so): Just Do It
Having sex regularly lowers anxiety, stress, and blood pressure, a Scottish researcher found. So keep those home fires burning. And if you need some tips on that, don’t miss the 60 Must-Try Moves for Enhancing Your Love Life.
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