When Stress Hits


February 16, 2011

The kids are arguing; your boss is waiting for a report; the car guy called, and that funny noise your engine has been making is a four-figure problem. Your tension reliever: "Chocolate, take me away!"

YES GO FOR THE (DARK) CHOCOLATE "Avoiding cravings often leads to overeating in the long run," says Melina Jampolis, M.D. "I find that many of my patients eat 'around' their cravings and end up consuming twice as many calories." Choose dark chocolate, which is higher in antioxidants and usually lower in sugar than lighter or milk chocolate, she advises. A cocoa content of 70 percent is optimal, but if you find that too bitter, you can do down a little. Control portions by breaking off a couple of squares and putting the rest away.

GET A MASSAGE Even if it's from yourself. Take off your shoes and either rub your feet or roll them over a tennis ball, suggests Susan Albers, Psy.D. It allows your heart rate and reduces your levels of stress hormones.

MOVE IT Exercise will release your stress even faster than food. "Just a 10-minute walk will take the edge off, says Joan Salge Blake.


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