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4 Ways to Reduce Stress4 Ways to Reduce Stress


4 Ways to Reduce Stress

When you are craving foods because of a stressful situation, take a few minutes to relax, gather your thoughts and reflect on your fitness goals.

Go for a walk

Walking provides a simple way to take a mental break, and the physical activity eases tension. While all exercise has benefits, an outdoor walk in a quiet setting will be the most effective for gathering your thoughts. Choose a route through a park or quiet neighborhood that is free of traffic noise and other distractions. Bring your focus to how good it feels to get moving and the peacefulness of your environment.

Repeat a word or phrase

While sitting quietly, think of a positive word or phrase. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and repeat the affirmation in your head. It takes as little as 5 minutes of sitting quietly and reflecting on something positive to help ease stress and refresh your outlook.

Use guided meditation

If your thoughts tend to wander while meditating, listening to guiding words can be helpful. Guided meditations offer cues to help you refocus your thoughts and get the most from your meditation time. You can find guided meditations in the form of podcasts, apps for your smartphone, CDs and community classes.

Muscle relaxation

Muscle relaxation eases tension throughout your whole body. It can be done while seated or while lying on your back. Begin at your feet and tense your muscles. Next breathe deeply as you relax the muscles. Repeat this process for each set of muscle groups, and work your way up your body.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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