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8 Natural Stress Relievers

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Working professionals, new parents, college students - no matter how you spend your time, odds are you wrestle with stress at some point during your day. While spa days laden with professional massages and soothing tunes can relieve that tension, there are many cheaper - yet equally effective - ways to alleviate anxiety.

1. Yoga

Yoga is a great way to work out that tension.

Exercising can work wonders for your stress, but yoga in particular boasts meditative properties that can relieve the mind, body and soul. According to the American Yoga Association, movements completed as part of the exercise can build core strength and improve breathing.

2. Talk It Out
When we become overwhelmed with stress, often our first instinct is to reach out and speak to a close friend or relative. This is one of the best ways to articulate what's really bothering you while brainstorming solutions with someone you trust. Call your mom, text your best friend or vent to a co-worker - you'll feel much better in the long run.

3. Take a Bubble Bath
Bring out the fancy salts and draw that luxurious bubble bath. Give yourself 30 to 60 minutes when you can just lay back and relax with your favorite scents and suds.  

4. Eat Dark Chocolate
Overloading on too many sweets can actually have the opposite effect on your stress, but indulging in a small bit of dark chocolate can provide stress relief. Scientists attribute this to the fact that this food is rich in flavanols, which can lower the body's overall blood pressure.

5. Sleep in Style
Getting in plenty of zzz's can drastically reduce your overall stress levels, so invest in bedding that will make sleep come much easier at night. Using a therapeutic mattress pad is a great way to get even, warm temperatures that can ease you to bed at night. 

6. Drink Hot Tea
Similar to dark chocolate, hot tea is rich in antioxidants that have natural stress-fighting abilities. Load up on some chamomile next time you're at the grocery store.

7. Cuddle with a Furry Friend

Let man's best friend do his job.

Animals may not be able to engage in a conversation about what's really bugging you, but they're excellent at cuddling. Cozy up next to your dog or cat - or, if you don't have a pet, visit a local shelter to get those snuggles.

8. Treat Your Nose
According to research published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, aromatherapy boasts many stress-relieving properties. Scents like lavender, jasmine and vanilla have been linked to reduced anxiety, so get those scented bath scrubs out and therapeutic candles lit.