7. AT THE GYM Hit the pool! Youll beat the heat and squelch stress: A new Swedish study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that floating in water triggers the bodys relaxation response, helping lower stress-hormone levels. Even better, nearly 80 percent of the subjects showed improvements such as feeling less tense and depressed.
8. AT HOME IN THE EVENINGS Give your thumbs a rest. Thanks to e-mail, cell phones, and BlackBerrys, it seems like your job never ends. The increasingly blurry boundaries between work and home life leave us with less downtime than ever before (and in some cases, no downtime!). Advances in technology are a leading source of chronic stress, putting many of us in a constant state of alert, says Reed Moskowitz, M.D., founding medical director of Stress Disorders Services at New York University Medical Center in New York City. Not to mention it draws our attention away from our families: A recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found a link between the use of cell phones and pagers at home and increased stress, which spills over into family life. To make technology work for you, screen calls with caller ID or, better yet, limit your cell phone and e-mail use to working hours only. Cant kick the CrackBerry habit? Set a regular time youll check it in the evening (say, after dinner), so youre not constantly disrupting home life to keep tabs on work.
9. WHEN YOURE FACING A MAJOR LIFE CHANGE Recall a past success. Taking ve minutes to reflect on how you pulled through other stressful situations like your last breakup or when you switched jobs can help you reconnect with your resilient side, Schulz says. In the moment, it may feel as though youll never get over your present problem, but when you look back, you realize that you felt similarly before and found a way to overcome it. If youre going through a divorce or recently lost a loved one, you also may want to seek out a support group: Research on grieving presented by the Center for the Advancement of Health in Washington, D.C., suggests that talking with peers is even more beneficial than one-on-one counseling in the initial months after a loss.
10. BEFORE BED Do an asana in your pajamas. A simple spinal twist can help you get a better nights sleep, says Edward Vilga, author of Yoga in Bed (Running Press, 2005), now out on DVD. It alleviates tension thats built up in your lower back along the day, he says. Sitting on your bed with legs crossed, place your right hand down on the bed behind you and rest your left hand on your right knee. Sit up straight and inhale for four to eight counts, lengthening your spine as you breathe. On your exhale, begin to twist toward your right hand (dont strain your neck). Hold this position for four more full breaths, lengthening your spine on the inhales and deepening your twist on the exhales, if it feels comfortable. Repeat on opposite side.