Whole Heart

7 Steps to Instant Calm

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Get a move on

It's easy to use stress as an excuse to skip exercise—you've got way too many other things on your mind, right? But working out actually helps balance stress hormones, Dr. Emmons says.

So take a break, and walk up and down a few flights of stairs, or sign up for that kickboxing class you've been dying to try. Then cool down from your routine with some mellow music: Make a special "soothing" playlist for your iPod, recommends Beth Hamilton, MD, co-author of So Stressed: The Ultimate Stress-Relief Plan for Women. Research suggests that your brain waves will sync up with the slow rhythm, putting you in a meditative state.

Next: Snack right