When you feel you have to do too much for too many others, stress can strike. The antidote, says Louanne Cole Weston, Ph.D., a Sacramento, California sex and marital therapist, is to take some time for yourself. Personal indulgence can be a great stress reliever.
1. Hot soaks. Probably the most popular stress-reducing indulgence is a hot bath or shower. Combine it with aromatherapy, and you’ll be transported. A few drops of lavender essential oil in the bath water are a popular favorite.
2. Massage. Hour-long full-body massages work wonderfully but may take too long or cost too much. Instead, try a brief massage—a facial or a back rub. Studies by psychologist Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institutes at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, show that even brief massages help reduce stress.
3. Get intimate. Speaking of massage, it’s also the basis of great sex, which can be very relaxing if you have a loving relationship. If not, solo sex can also help relieve stress. “I know many, many women,” sex therapist Weston says, “who reach for their vibrators when they feel stressed.” To purchase a vibrator discreetly and confidentially, contact the Xandria Collection at (800) 242-2823.
4. Try acupressure. Acupressure stimulates the same points as acupuncture, but with finger pressure instead of needles. Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D., director of the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California, advises breathing deeply and using steady, prolonged, penetrating fingertip pressure on each point for about three minutes. For stress relief, Gach suggests several points, among them the Third Eye, located between the eyebrows in the indentation where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead; the Heavenly Pillar, on the back of the neck slightly below the base of the skull on the muscles about one-half inch out from the spine; and the Heavenly Rejuvenation, on the back of the shoulders midway between the base of the neck and the shoulder joint, one-half inch below the top of the shoulder.
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