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5 fun ways to lower your blood pressure and ease your mind


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Stress Relief Now!

Stressed man at work

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(This article appeared previously on Grandparents.com)

If you often feel stressed out (your health and your job are primary culprits!), you’re not the only one. A recent American Psychological Association Stress in America study found that:

  • People aged 48 and older say their stress levels are higher than they consider healthy
  • 18- to 33-year-olds experience the most stress overall
  • 33 percent of Gen X'ers and younger boomers report increased amounts of stress
  • 29 percent of people over 67 say their stress has increased in the last year

What can you do to ease your mind and body? Deep breathing, meditation and exercise are always helpful, but sometimes you just don't have the time or energy. That's why we've found these five fun tricks, all backed by the latest research, to get you feeling calm and centered and stress-free.

1. Laugh

Female friends laughing

Credit: Getty Images

A big belly laugh can have all kinds of positive effects on your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure." In other words, it releases tension and ups blood flow to the heart and other vital organs. What else can it do? Lower blood pressure, and maybe even positively influence blood sugar levels.

2. Eat an Orange

Orange juice

Credit: Thinkstock

Common wisdom has always said that vitamin C boosts the immune system and wards off cold viruses, but it turns out vitamin C can reduce stress, too. Researchers have found that a boost of vitamin C taken when you're feeling stressed can lower blood pressure and calm the body. So the next time you feel anxiety come on, reach for that orange, or grab some C-rich blueberries or strawberries.

3. Go Outside

Mature African American Couple Walking In Countryside

Credit: Thinkstock

Turns out what you choose to surround yourself with makes a huge difference in your stress level. A recent study from the University of Edinburgh found that people who surround themselves with more green space — tree-lined streets, a walk in the park — are significantly less stressed than their urban counterparts. And it doesn’t mean you have to spend hours outdoors. A 2010 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that just five minutes outside in the fresh air doing a mild activity like walking can boost your mood.

Need more reasons to get outside? Researchers at the University of Michigan found that your memory and attention span can improve by 20 percent after an hour in nature. So take a walk outside, sit in the park and enjoy.

4. Rub on Rose Oil

Credit: Getty Images

A recent study from Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand found that people who absorbed rose oil through their skin (as an experiment control, they wore masks so they couldn't smell the scent), had lower breathing rates and blood pressure and felt more relaxed than those in a control group. Click here to learn how to make your own rose oil.

Rose oil not your favorite scent? Try another natural de-stressor, ylang-ylang oil.

5. Walk Into Another Room

Credit: Unsplash

It might sound a little nutty, but according to a study at the University of Notre Dame, just shifting your environment a little can change what you’re thinking about and help you forget stress. According to the study, when you walk into a new room, your brain views it as a new event and essentially resets itself, forgetting what was happening before. This works great for getting rid of those tension-filled thoughts. It also explains why you can never remember where you left your keys!

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