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6 Surprising Ways to Instantly Lower Stress

Feeling frazzled? Balancing caregiving with work, kids, bills and managing a household can put anyone on the verge of a meltdown.

Caring for others, you probably forget to take care of yourself. But if you're not healthy, you not only suffer, but so do those in your care. What you do isn't easy, and you probably don't have much time in your day for yourself, but reducing stress levels whenever possible is crucial to good health and good state of mind. So take a deep breath, and read on. Here are some surprisingly simple stress busters.

1. Laugh
Laughing for one minute is the equivalent to 15 minutes on an exercise bike or 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Laughter can reduce stress hormones, boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure. So pop in an old Seinfeld video, read your favorite comic strip, turn on Comedy Central, call a friend who makes you laugh or pull out old photos albums. Go ahead: laugh out loud!

2. Reinvent your vocabulary
Words have a powerful influence over our mind. Think positive thoughts and use positive words. You don't need to buy a dictionary and start learning lots of fancy new words. Just ban two simple words from your vocabulary…and add one important one. Never utter the words "I can't" again. Saying things like "I can't do it anymore" is a defeatist attitude that is a recipe for failure. And with failure comes stress. So don't say "I can't." Say "I'll try." And here's a word that many caregivers need to add to their vocabulary: "No!" It's one of the first words that babies learn - and they use it often. But as adults, the word seems to have slipped from our vocabulary. Learn how to say "no." Know your limits and stick to them, whether in your personal or professional life.

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