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Put it on paper

Put it on paper
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Writing provides perspective, says Paul J. Rosch, MD. Divide a piece of paper into two parts. On the left side, list the stressors you may be able to change, and on the right, list the ones you can’t. “Change what you can,” Dr Rosch suggests, “and stop fretting over what you can’t.”

Watch out for these 15 sneaky things in your home that could be causing anxiety.

Count to 10

Count to 10
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Before you do something you’ll regret or say something that makes the situation worse, step away from the stressor and collect yourself, advises Dr Cooper. You can also look away for a moment or put the caller on hold. Use your time-out to take a few deep breaths, stretch, or recite an affirmation to make managing stress easier.

Follow these 18 ways to keep your blood pressure in check. 

Switch to decaf

Switch to decaf
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Wean yourself off slowly, or you might get a caffeine-withdrawal headache that could last for several days, cautions James Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy. Subtract a little regular coffee and add some decaf to your morning cup. Over the next couple of weeks, gradually increase the proportion of decaf to regular until you’re drinking all decaf. You should also consider switching from regular soft drinks to caffeine-free ones or sparkling mineral water.

Discover 10 things that happen to your body after you quit coffee. 

Just say no

Just say no
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Trying to do everything is a one-way ticket to serious stress. Be clear about your limits, and stop trying to please everyone all the time. The first step to stop doing everything at once? Managing stress and your time well. Follow this time management advice from successful people to keep your stress in check.

Take a whiff

Take a whiff
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Oils of anise, basil, bay, chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rose and thyme are all soothing, say Kathy Keville and Mindy Green, coauthors of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. Place a few pieces of rock salt in a small vial, then add a couple of drops of the oil of your choice (the rock salt absorbs the oil and is much less risky to carry around in your purse than a bottle of oil). Open the vial and breathe in the scent whenever you need a quick stress release. Look for the oils in your local health food store.

Learn 10 soothing scents that can boost your immune system.

Warm up

Warm up
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Try this tip from David Sobel, MD, author of The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook: Rub your hands together vigorously until they feel warm. Then cup them over your closed eyes for five seconds while you breathe deeply. The warmth and darkness are comforting.

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Say yes to pressure

Say yes to pressure
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Acupressure stimulates the same points as acupuncture, but with fingers instead of needles. Michael Reed Gach, PhD, recommends pressing on the following three points:

The Third Eye, located between the eyebrows, in the indentation where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead.

The Heavenly Pillar, on the back of the neck slightly below the base of the skull, about half an inch to the left or right of the spine.

The Heavenly Rejuvenation, half an inch below the top of each shoulder, midway between the base of the neck and the outside of the shoulder blade.

Breathe deeply and apply firm, steady pressure on each point for two to three minutes. The pressure should cause a mild aching sensation, but not pain.

Schedule worry time

Schedule worry time
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Some stressors demand immediate attention – a smoke alarm siren or a police car’s whirling red light. But many low-grade stressors can be dealt with at a later time, when it’s more convenient. “File them away in a little mental compartment, or make a note,” Dr Elkin says, “then deal with them when the time is right. Don’t let them control you.”

Here are 13 things you need to know about anger. 

Shake it up

Shake it up
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Stand or sit, stretch your arms out from your sides, and shake your hands vigorously for about 10 seconds. This exercise loosens the muscles in your neck and upper back; if they’re strained, they can cause a lot of pain. Combine it with a little deep breathing, Dr Sobel says, and you’ll do yourself twice as much good while still managing stress.

Munch some snacks

Munch some snacks
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Foods that are high in carbohydrates stimulate the release of serotonin, feel-good brain chemicals that help induce calm, says Dr Cooper. Crackers, pretzels or a bagel should do the trick. Be careful not to eat too many carbs, though. They can just increase your appetite instead of managing stress.

Learn the 10 best meals to eat when you feel your worst. 

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team