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How Do You Alleviate Stress?

Real Simple readers take us to their “happy place.”

BubblesJoseph de Leo
I dance to the music that’s constantly playing in my head―even if I’m out in public and my son in embarrassed.
Laura Isaacs
Elmhurst, Illinois
I go outside with my little girl and blow bubbles. It makes me breathe a little deeper and calms my nerves. And hearing my daughter giggle while she chases them is the best stress-reliever I know.
Sue Ann Jernigan
Dardanelle, Arkansas
I run and run―and keep running―until I stop replaying a terrible day in my mind. When my legs feel as if they are going to collapse, I know I’m ready to go home and face my family without biting someone’s head off.
Cara Kruse
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Stress is a result of trying to control the uncontrollable. I try to direct my energy toward a project where I can see a result. In the spring and the fall, I get out and dig in the dirt. Nothing shows more hope for the future than planting things. In the summer and the winter, I work on making little areas of my environment tidy. I get comfort from binders full of neatly bound recipes and drawers and closets purged of the old and unusable.
Robin Chandler-Miles
Pocomoke City, Maryland
I knit like a madwoman and try new recipes. My stress level can be measured by the number of unfinished knitting projects and goodies scattered around the house.
Leisa Smyly
Barnwell, South Carolina
I get my kids outside, and we play a great game of tag, ring-around-the-rosy, or duck-duck-goose. Eventually I feel like a carefree kid again and can return to reality with a fresh, energized perspective.
Caroline Joyce
Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
When I need to blow off some steam, I find that listening to a mix of old TV theme songs helps to get rid of a bad mood. It’s hard to be tense when you’re jamming out to jingles from The Jeffersons or The Golden Girls. After a few songs, I find that I have calmed down and can move on to whatever I need to tackle next.
Jessica Sabin
Kent, Ohio
When I’m overwhelmed at work, or by a project that seems impossible, I try to do or learn something new. This leaves me with a clear head, a sense of accomplishment, and the confidence (not to mention the adrenaline rush) to help me tackle my problems head-on and solve them. My latest stress-relieving conquest? Flying-trapeze classes!
Nancy Micciulla
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I head outdoors. There is nothing like some good, backbreaking weeding to relieve frazzled nerves, and the bonus is the garden looks better. My family knows that if Mom’s in the garden, it’s a good idea to leave her alone with her plants.
Jennifer Hipsman
Newark, Illinois
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