No need to reach for a pill to calm down, advises stress expert Candace Ayars.
"Our bodies are our best drug store," added Dr. Ayars, assistant professor of public health at the University of Toledo.
We can harness our natural chemistry to ease the jitters and help prevent the physical damage that can result from long-term exposure to stress, she explained.
"I think the worst thing some people do when they're stressed is that they stay in an agitated state. You can take some very simple steps that will completely reverse the processes that have been initiated by the stress response."
Rather than relying on the established "fight or flight" response, many women "tend and befriend" - that is, they find comfort in taking care of the needs of themselves or others, or in sharing the company of other women. That raises levels of oxytocin, a calming hormone, she continued.
"We match our pulse rate to the music we hear. That's why so many day spas have the sounds of nature or Oriental music," she said. Touch - a hug, a bubble bath, a massage - can be healing as well.
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