1. Stress release: Listen to and/or play music

Calming activities that can tone down the body's stress responses are great ways to alleviate stress. Music can be energizing or calming, depending on which music you choose.

Researchers at Stanford University found that rhythmic music may have therapeutic effects for treating a range of neurological conditions, as it stimulates the brain and can perhaps change how it functions. Familiar melodies and gentle music can reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol.

2. Gardening can affect mood

Gardening lets a person tend to living things while getting some fresh air. Both the sunlight and the activity itself can be soothing and have a positive effect on mood.

A study from the Journal of Health Psychology found that gardening, like listening to music, lowers cortisol levels.

3. Grab a good book

Taking the time to unwind and read can help ease tension in the muscles, lower one's heart rate and induce calm.

Research from the consultancy Mindlab International at the University of Sussex found reading reduced stress levels by 68 percent.

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