Making resolutions for the new year is a 4,000-year old tradition, so if you’re hoping to make 2014 the year you get healthier, fitter, or happier, you have about four millennia worth of company. To help you on your way, we’ll be posting 10 science-backed action steps for a popular resolution every day through January 12. Be sure to check back for hints and tips to kick off your best year yet!
Feeling crazy stressed, super tense, and stretched too thin? You’re not alone. A whopping 70 percent of Americans experience physical or emotional symptoms of at some point. Nip stress in the bud, or at least reduce its effects, with these tips.
Quieting the mind has been shown to relieve stress
2. Start LOLing.
Hearty laughter is more than fun; it’s also therapeutic, having been shown to have positive effects on relationships, physical health, stress response, and fatigue
3. Move your bod.
The rush of endorphins (your brain’s “feel-good transmitters”) that comes after vigorous exercise is also known as the runner’s high. Whether it manifests as calm or a feeling of euphoria, either one offers stress relief.
4. Chill with Fido.
Become a Corgi-lover or a cat fan because spending quality time with a pet has been shown to activate oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress
5. Get a massage.
Not only does a rub-down feel darn fantastic, it’s also a proven way to reduce stress
6. Listen to music.
Get grooving because music chills us out.
7. Get in touch with your inner yogi.
Restorative yoga is all about stillness and being calm. Study participants who practiced it experienced positive changes, both for their mental health and their quality of life.
8. Get creative.
Grab some supplies and start creating. In studies, art therapy (a program that involves creating art to explore feelings, reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem, and work through conflict) has been shown to reduce stress
9. Take five.
Make a habit of treating yourself to five minutes of relaxation a day, even if you have to schedule it in your calendar and set a reminder. If you have a few moments to look out the window or take a quick, mindful stroll around the block, you have time to de-stress.
10. Have sex or masturbate!
Good-feeling and good for you, sex and masturbation have been shown to make people less reactive to stressful situations
If you’ve resolved to beat stress in the new year, tell us what tips you’ll use to chill out in 2014. Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us on Twitter.