Give Stress the Soft Touch

Medically reviewed in October 2021

If your worries are following you around like a long afternoon shadow, here's a fun way to give them the slip:

Spend 30 minutes cuddling on the couch tonight. Research shows that physical affection can help lower stress levels.

Happy Half-Hour
In a small 4-week study, healthy married couples that regularly held hands, massaged each other, and cuddled for 30 minutes at least four times a week showed significant changes in physiological systems associated with stress. Their saliva showed more antistress hormones as well as lower levels of enzymes associated with stress, compared with that of noncuddlers. Don't have a significant other? Snuggle with your kitty or your pup. Time with pets is a great calm-inducer, too.

Reach Out and Touch Someone
You don't have to be married to enjoy the benefits of social support. Time with friends and other family members helps your health, too. Find out how having lunch with a good-natured pal could have far-reaching benefits for your mental health.

Watch this video for an under 100-calorie brownie recipe you can make and share with a friend.

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