Stress is a major part of everyday life in this modern world of ours. We've all felt it. School. Work. Family. Relationships. That one jerk on the freeway. Money. Politics. Health. Money again. Sometimes it's just too much.
Everyone has different ways of coping. For me, I've found the best way to reduce stress is with a healthy dosage of this:
That's my puppy, Cooper. Well, puppy's not the right word - he'll be 10 this November - but he'll always be my puppy.
Cooper's a Black Lab we got in early 2009, and since then, he's been our faithful companion. You can't go five feet in our house without Cooper being under your feet. Sometimes it's annoying, but one look at his precious face, with its happy grin and big, expressive eyes, and you just can't stay mad at him. He craves attention, and in return we get eternal affection. We're just so happy being with him that we don't even notice our cares going away.
That's what my dog does for me, in my life. He reduces stress. And I'm not alone. Studies have shown that interactions with therapy animals have the same effect. Interacting with an animal can increase levels of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress, and decrease productions of the stress hormone cortisol. Further, people with pets have been shown to keep their blood pressure lower during times of stress than people without pets. And pet owners have also been shown to live longer after having a heart attack.
In my case, I'm just happy when my Cooper jumps up and wants to snuggle with me. But I know that not everyone can have a pet. A cheaper, less hairy method is also available: Tea.
Tea is a natural solution for stress relief. Both Black and Green Teas contain an amino acid called L-theanine that has been proven to reduce both physical and mental stress. It also helps to boost brain function, according to this article.
Many different Herbal Blends have been known to help reduce stress and anxiety and keep you calm throughout the day. Chamomile and Peppermint are the best-known examples, but also try Mystic Mint, Ginseng Boost, and Teas containing Tulsi (aka Holy Basil).
Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Some meditate, others do yoga. There's music, reading, a walk outdoors. And maybe it's a big lovable canine climbing on your bed and laying his head on your chest. Maybe it's a cup of warm, comforting Tea. Just remember, keep the two separate - we do not recommend pouring Tea on your chest.