A time for family, friends, turkey and spiked eggnog, though cozy as it may sound, is actually quite a stressful time of year.
You’re 5% more likely to have a heart attack due to holiday stress levels shooting off the charts. So how do we have a nice, calm and peaceful holiday? Follow these steps to a heart-healthy holiday.
1 second: Swear
Researchers at England’s University of East Anglia Norwich looked into leadership styles and found that using swear words can reduce stress and boost camaraderie among coworkers. Good luck, @#!$*%&*!
5 seconds: Pop fish oil
According to research from the University of Pittsburgh, people with the highest blood levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are happier, less impulsive, and more agreeable. Try a daily supplement of 400 milligrams each of EPA and DHA fish oils.
10 seconds: Eat dark chocolate
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the flavonoids in cocoa relax your body’s blood vessels. Look for lowfat dark chocolate, which has more stress-busting flavonoids than milk chocolate.
30 seconds: Know your hoku
Acupressure is a quick tension releaser, according to researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University who found it can reduce stress by up to 39 percent. For fast relief, massage your hoku (the fleshy part between the thumb and index finger) for 20 to 30 seconds. “This is the universal pressure point for easing upper-body tension,” says Patrice Winter, a spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association.
30 seconds: Sit back
Forget what you’ve been told about sitting up straight to relieve tension in your back. Researchers at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada found that leaning back at a 135-degree angle is the best sitting position for alleviating back pain.
1 minute: Add garlic
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham believe they’ve figured out why garlic is good for heart health, and their finding implies it’s a powerful stress buster too. When you digest garlic’s main ingredient, organosulfur allicin, your body produces hydrogen sulfide, which relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow.
3 minutes: Brew tea
In a study at University College in London, 75 men were given tea before completing two stressful tasks. Afterward, their cortisol levels dropped an average of 47 percent, compared with 27 percent for men who weren’t given tea.
5 minutes: Take a YouTube timeout
Just the anticipation of laughing decreases the stress hormones dopac, cortisol, and epinephrine by 38, 39, and 70 percent, respectively, according to researchers at Loma Linda University in California. And when researchers at the University of Maryland showed short movie clips to study participants, those who watched funny films experienced a 22 percent increase in blood flow to their hearts.
8 minutes: Budget wisely
“Money is the biggest source of stress for a man during the holidays,” says Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., author of Financial Infidelity (Hudson Street Press, 2008). And with good reason: Men who avoid making budgets spend an average of 36 percent more on holiday gifts than those who don’t, according to a 2002 survey. So go easy on your wallet and your heart. Sit down with your wife and quickly calculate how much you two want to spend on gifts this year.
10 minutes: Just do it
Kissing or hugging your husband/wife can reduce stress because it raises levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding and love, say researchers at the University of North Carolina. And a Scottish researcher found that having sex regularly lowers anxiety, stress, and blood pressure.
Provided by Best Life