5 Ways to Reduce Stress

A good night's sleep, great sex, and maybe a different mother-in-law. Yep. Great stress busters. But when you need to reduce stress fast, try the following:

Laughing. At Jon Stewart's lines (or, hopefully, ours -- check out our books, too). Cracking up relaxes your blood vessels and increases blood flow -- the opposite of what happens when you're tense -- so you can reduce stress in a hurry.

Inhaling. Not that! Try the scent of roses. They, along with lavender, basil, orange, grape, mango, and lemon, contain a compound called linalool, whose scent reduces anxiety.

Chewing gum. Quietly and discreetly, please. A study of more than 2,000 workers found lower levels of stress in those who chewed gum. The caveat: The research was funded by a gum company. But if it works for you, do it. 

Drinking black tea. While men who regularly drank black tea still responded to stress, their bodies calmed down and reversed the physical responses to stress faster than did guys who drank fake tea. Learn how black tea also helps your blood sugar.

Try a chi-gong move. Chi-gong (qigong), a 2000-year-old series of calming movements and breaths, teaches you how to breathe correctly -- from a point 2 inches below your navel. Ideally, do all of the moves regularly. But to sap stress right now, try this one: Stand and focus on a point on a wall, with your chin parallel to the ground. Inhale as you turn your head to the right, and exhale as you come back to the middle. Repeat to the left. Try more chi-gong moves with this video.