When we were 5, we might have sucked our thumbs for stress relief. As adults, many of us self-soothe with junk food, a glass (or two) of wine, maybe some mindless TV. But those are fixes that don't actually fix anything. Luckily, recent studies reveal some easy ways to lift your spirits and lower your stress that actually create positive shifts in your brain and body.
"Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which can damage our brains and weaken our cardiovascular and immune systems over time," says neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, PhD, the author of Buddha's Brain. We asked experts for their best instant mood boosters, backed by the latest research in nutrition, psychology, and neuroscience. Follow these tips and you'll be saying "aah" in no time.
Put on a happy face
Smiling soothes you, even if you're just going through the motions. A University of Wisconsin study found that