Overly Stressed? 10 Ways to Keep Your Cool


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New York Fashion Week Coverage 2010

How many times a day do you find yourself wanting to pull your hair out just thinking about your busy schedule? As our schedules become more and more jam packed every day, it becomes harder to keep our cool when faced with stress. This is especially true if you're going to be frantically running around town in the next few days for New York Fashion Week -- like us. We suggest that you make "stress" a four-letter word -- don't even say it or think about it! We've compiled ten useful techniques to help you eliminate stress from your vocabulary once and for all.

1. Invest in Lavender Products
It's a widely held belief that the scent of lavender can have real calming effects. Lucky for us, there are countless lavender scented products to choose from. Try lighting a lavender candle while you're getting ready in the morning to calm your nerves for the day ahead. We like Yankee Candle's lemon lavender scent best. We also recommend carrying around a lavender scented hand cream in your purse to keep the relaxing smell with you all day. Try L'Occitane's lavender harvest hand cream and you'll be stress-free and moisturized all day. (Lemon lavender small jar candle, $9.99, at yankeecandle.com) or (Lavender harvest hand cream, $10, at sephora.com).


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2. Write in a Diary or Journal



Writing your thoughts down on paper can be one of the best ways to reduce stress. If the idea of facing a blank journal page seems scary to you, then you'll love the Keel's Simple Diary. It's perfect for anyone who is constantly on the go. Each page is filled with multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, and philosophical phrases that will get your mind off the day's stress. This diary is one of Rachel McAdams' must-have items. Plus, you get a choice between six vibrant colors: blue, lime green, yellow, orange, red, and brown. (Keel's Simple Diary, $15, at anthropologie.com).

3. Stress Lozenges

Suck on these organic lozenges and you'll not only help battle stress, but you'll also help settle digestion. Just pop one of the lozenges whenever you feel a pang of stress coming on. (Homeopathic Stress Lozenges, $5.99, at drugstore.com).

4. On-the-Go Breathing Exercises

Sometimes all it takes to calm down is a little breathing concentration. Try breathing in and out deeply while counting each breath. Pick up a book of exercises to learn about other breathing techniques -- we especially like The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi. (The Breathing Book, $13.60, at amazon.com).

5. Recite a Calming Mantra


Repetition is a guaranteed way to calm your nerves in a stressful situation. We suggest starting off the day by choosing a calming mantra to keep in mind as you go about your day. If you can't think of one on your own, try a book of mantras like The Mantram Handbook by Eknath Easwaran. (The Mantram Handbook, $12.78, barnesandnoble.com).

6. Fill up on Vitamin C

Studies suggest that Vitamin C can not only boost your immune system, but it can also reduce stress hormones. Knowing that you wont be getting sick anytime soon should be enough to reduce some stress right away, right? Our suggestion is to stock up on oranges, 100 percent pure orange juice, and Vitamin C supplements to ensure a healthy stress-free day.

7. Keep Your iPod Handy
We suggest making a relaxing iPod playlist to have handy whenever you feel a bout of stress coming on. A soothing song can work to immediately lower your heart rate. Our favorite relaxing album right now is John Mayer's Battle Studies.

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8. Make a "To Do" List

The number one reason we often feel stressed is because we simply have too much going on in our minds. This problem can easily be resolved by making a simple "To Do" list. Not only will it help to calm some of the noise in your brain, but as soon as you begin getting things checked off the list, you will instantly begin to feel a sense of relief. (Freakin To Do List Notepad, $15, at etsy.com).

9. Replace Caffeine with H20
Drinking caffeine is the worse thing you can do in a stressful situation. Caffeine speeds up your heart rate, causing more anxiety. Instead, opt for good old H20. Water keeps you stress-free and healthy by flushing out any unwanted toxins.

10. Eat Dark Chocolate

You don't have to feel bad about eating chocolate anymore -- dark chocolate that is. There are many health benefits to eating dark chocolate. A recent study found that dark chocolate can help reduce cortisol, a stress hormone found in highly stressed individuals. 1.4 oz of dark chocolate every day for two weeks can help reduce cortisol levels in your body. We'll take it! (Dove rich dark chocolate, $4.99, at cvs.com)

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