We’re grateful for the warmer weather, yet 80 percent of us are dealing with lingering tension after the past year. That’s why we tapped experts for their easy strategies to calm nerves and boost mood more effectively than prescription medications without side effects!
Send Happy Thoughts
Whether you’re hearing them or spreading them, kind words tamp down stress hormones. No wonder Georgetown University scientists say sending a short text to a loved one reminding them why you appreciate their smile cuts tension in half in five minutes. And sending just one or two upbeat messages daily soothes even chronic stress for 96 percent of women studied. That’s better than anti-anxiety meds, which are effective for only about half of folks who try them.
Stretch With Music
Turn up your favorite tunes and arch your back or reach for your toes for 10 minutes twice daily, and you’ll feel 65 percent calmer all day long, British scientists say. Psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal, MD, says that’s because stretching the large muscles in your body prompts the release of mood-steadying hormones (endorphins), while listening to music boosts the benefits by increasing your production of calming alpha brain waves. No wonder it’s one of the most relaxing and entertaining ways to boost your mood.
Fire Up the Grill
Root vegetables are packed with nerve soothing nutrients called carotenoids that cut anxiety by 55 percent if you enjoy two cups of them daily, say Yale researchers. And you’ll effortlessly eat 50 percent more veggies if they’re roasted or grilled, since dry heat caramelizes plant sugars, making them taste sweeter. Plus, root veggies lower blood pressure too!
Try a Deep-Sea Remedy
Quieting stress is as easy as getting more omega-3 fatty acids (often found in fish). And you don’t have to be a seafood lover to benefit: Research in JAMA Open Network suggests taking 2,000 mg. of fish oil daily helps you feel 63 percent calmer in one month — that’s better than an Rx. Explains psychiatrist Pete Lin, MD, when the omega-3s in fish oil soak into your brain, they act as powerful natural anti-anxiety agents. Tip: Stashing the supplement in the freezer prevents “fish burps.” Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.