Easy (and Cheap) Stress-Relief Tips

Medically reviewed in October 2021

If you’re looking for easy ways to de-stress, a hug (or two) might just do the trick.

Like a Snuggie for your insides, hugs are linked to warm, fuzzy feelings. Even better, those good feelings translate into lower heart rate and blood pressure. Studies show a hug from a loving partner dampens stress in people both before and after a difficult time.

Hug It Out
In a world where so many things send stress levels soaring, it’s a good idea to find a few easy and effective stress-relief tips. A study of premenopausal women revealed those who received the most hugs and massages from their significant others had the highest levels of oxytocin -- a hormone and brain chemical linked to happy feelings and security in relationships. And even better, oxytocin is related to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Oxy-cise Every Day
Another good thing about oxytocin: It helps keep your blood pressure in check when you're stressing about an upcoming event or trying to recover from a nerve-racking experience. Seems oxytocin somehow puts the brakes on the branch of the nervous system that ramps up heart rate and blood pressure. Or it may be that oxytocin works directly on the heart and blood vessels to keep them calm when tensions rise. Here are some other ways to de-stress and relax:

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