How to Release Stress
Pros explain how to recover from bouts of stress.
Your mile-long shopping list has yet to be addressed; houseguests are imminent and you’re nowhere near prepared; coordinating the family calendar has been impossible, and you’re supposed to be in three places at one time. Whatever the source, a spike in stress can make you feel agitated, angry, drained, weepy, or unable to sleep—or, let’s face it, all of the above. This happens when the brain’s fear center triggers the stress and fight-or-flight responses, a flood of hormones that revs up breathing, spikes blood sugar, and increases natural steroids so you can fight off an attacker or run for your life. That makes sense from an evolutionary perspective but is an overreaction for most modern-day stress, explains psychologist Marc Schoen, Ph.D., an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine and the author of Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You. In fact, it can exacerbate the problem. “The end result could be an abundance of inflammation, leading to accelerated aging or symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome [IBS] or asthma,” says Schoen. Here's your recovery plan: