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Top Ways to De-Stress & Relax

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by Tarryn Guttenberg (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer born in Johannesburg now living in Melbourne. I love travelling and have lived in London and Taipei as well as travelling in and around South Africa. I have a great interest in exploring and love to share my finds with others.
Published September 24th 2012
The daily grind of the rat race or pressures from home and school tend to get the better of us at one time or another. Its important to try and maintain stress levels for your health and also for your mental well being.

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Here are a great ways to help you to unwind and relax!

1. Boil the kettle and have a cup of herbal tea.

Herbal tea
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Not only is herbal tea very healthy with a balance of antioxidants and an increased metabolism (in the case of green tea) it also supplies a form of aroma therapy with calming camomile, zesty citrus fruits and vibrant, energising berries that can soothe frazzled nerves and also assist to soothe your stomach simply by the act of drinking a hot beverage. Good tummy calming teas include peppermint, spearmint and fennel teas. Ensure you steer away from sugar to sweeten to and instead try a stevia or similar sugar substitute if you need added sweetness in your cuppa.

2. Put on your trainers and lets get some exercise.

Exercise
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Another activity that is clearly beneficial for your health and fitness also produces and stimulates endorphins to enter the blood stream. These are hormones, which gives you a feeling of happiness and general well being. Adrenalin and a general feeling of increased energy are also produced during and after exercise which can make you feel more invigorated. Lastly exercise and the associated health benefits can increase your health and assist in weight loss or balance, which can certainly increase your confidence and therefore lift your mood.

3. Relax with your favourite tunes.

Musical relaxation
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Listening to your favourite calming tunes or exploring the gentle effects of classical, meditative or lounge style music can have fantastic effects to lower your stress levels. Music works on our bodies by encouraging the production of serotonin, which is the happiness hormone. This will give you that feeling of relaxation. Why not mix your gentle tunes with some meditation. This doesn't have to involve anything more than sitting quietly in a relaxed position, potentially lights off with your eyes closed and a clear mind.

4. Entertain yourself.



A brilliant way to relax is to watch your favourite film. Whether it be classic romance like '16 Candles', 'Dirty Dancing' or 'Ghost' or something different like comedy, animated film or a rom-com (romantic comedy) will be sure to put you in an uplifted mood. Laughing is one of the best remedies for stress and can actually relax muscles and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which can improve resistance to disease.

5. Read a good book.

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Reading a book allows you a form of escapism from your daily grind and can stimulate your mind and allow your mind to relieve itself from its normal worries. Taking the time to relax in a quiet place with a good book can be the perfect aid to allow you to take a moment, unwind and allow tension to be eased from muscles.

6. Eat something fresh and healthy

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Eating or drinking fresh foods, fruit and vegetables can have amazing effects on your energy and stress levels. Why not try a fantastic homemade smoothie like banana combined with your choice of light milk or dairy alternative like soy milk, rice milk, almond or oat milk and blend with ice until its nice and smooth and enjoy. Try uplifting foods such as a 10 walnuts (high in essential Omega 3, which lowers blood cholesterol levels), 2 squares of dark chocolate, (with antioxidants and the ability to boost serotonin levels that increase your happy feeling), Avocados (1/4 serving) helps raise dopamine levels and increase endorphins, which aide in increasing your mood and energy levels and fruits such as bananas, blueberries and the like which also increase serotonin levels - just to name a few.

What are your best tips for relaxation?
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