Everyone knows that when the Incredible Hulk feels stress, he turns into a raging, green monster. But when you worry about money, work, relationships, family responsibilities, or health problems, you're more likely to get headaches, gut troubles, and/or fatigue, as well as see flares of anger and impatience - all symptoms of day-in, day-out unresolved stress.
And those physical responses come with a pretty stiff price tag: Half of all deaths in folks younger than 65 are stress-related.
So if you're stressed (about 25 percent of you report dealing with extreme stress), sit down, take a deep breath, and try these two surprising stress-reduction techniques.
Put stress-reducing foods on your plate. Certain foods reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and that will help protect your cardiovascular system and nerves. Calming foods include: spinach, for its cortisol-controlling magnesium; white beans, barley, mackerel and cod, for their phosphatidylserine, a component of cell membranes that can calm nerves and help you sleep; citrus fruit's vitamin C helps slow cortisol production; and salmon and ocean trout are packed with inflammation-quelling DHA omega-3s that may reduce stressed-out feelings.
Give yourself a massage. We suggest Ayurvedic self-massage for its immune-modulating, pleasure-producing benefits that can reduce anxiety, tummy troubles, headaches, insomnia, even TMJ. After you get out of the shower, using a light oil, rub each body part from the top of your head to your toes with a firm, gentle, circular motion. You also can use roller-bars, hand-held massage sprayers, and rolling balls on legs, back, and feet.
© King Features Syndicate