9 Ways to De-Stress
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7. Let the sunshine in
Sunshine stimulates the production of vitamin D in our bodies, essential for replenishing the adrenal glands, says Lobe. Go outside for 20 minutes a day without sunscreen or sunglasses; Lobe also recommends taking 4,000 to 8,000 IU of vitamin D a day.
“When I’m really stressed, exercise is a big outlet—and I have a better workout,” says Brooks, who spins, walks, kick-boxes or does yoga before work five days a week. “It helps me get my aggression out.” Saunders also exercises regularly, practicing yoga and taking daily hourlong walks. “In Chinese medicine, we say that physical movement helps to move the qi, or energy, through the system.” In fact, according to a 2010 University of California, San Francisco, study of stressed-out women, most of whom were caregivers, the women who exercised vigorously for an average of just 13 minutes a day had fewer signs of aging—the longer telomeres again—than their inactive counterparts.
9. Cultivate active rest
That’s very different from collapsing at the end of the day, says Lichtenstein. “That’s just exhaustion,” he says. Active rest is spending time relaxing in a way that rejuvenates you—hanging out with friends, listening to music, reading or meditating. “All of these are a form of meditation that gives focused attention to the moment.” In a 2009 study conducted at West Virginia University, 35 stressed-out people were taught mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation. At the end of three months, they had a 54 percent drop in psychological distress and a 46 percent drop in medical symptoms (high blood pressure, aches and pains among them). The control group had little reduction of stress and an increase in medical symptoms.