8 (Somewhat) Offbeat Ways to Defeat Stress	Sadly, in these days, a life free of stress is a bit of a challenge to obtain. True, there are countless factors that contribute to mental/physical tension. Everyone has their own Achilles Heel – if you will – when it comes to triggers, so why not develop an ample arsenal of tools to combat stress? Recently, I’ve put forth laughter and music as fantastic stress relievers, but thought it would be fun to dig a li’l deeper and share some uncommon and/or unconventional methods to restore calm to our beings. 1) Scream It On Out This could explain why arguments tend to be cathartic (sometimes). Years of research have proven that screaming releases endorphins – the brain’s natural feel good hormone – causing a chain reaction that helps the body release tension. Living in close quarters? Try screaming into a pillow, in your car, or get out into nature (a therapeutic environment itself) and shout it on out. 2) Go on a Clean-a-thon Being surrounded by clutter can be seen as both a cause and effect of stress. Interestingly, a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicated that even 20 minutes of cleaning could diminish tension in two ways. The physical nature of cleaning and the results of cleanliness and order can be relaxing while elevating one’s mood. 3) Jaw Massage One of the annoying side effects of stress is teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Research has shown that massaging the muscles of the jaw area helps release stress. Tips for a ‘selfie’: Place the four fingers of each hand (thumb not included) over the temples and make circular motions for about a minute – increasing in intensity as needed, then repeat around jaw area. 4) Sex Ok, perhaps not that uncommon, but with the right person (or people – who am I to judge?) and under the right circumstances, sex has been proven time and again to have a calming affect on a person. 5) Dry Brushing According to naturopath and acupuncturist, Laurie Steelsmith, brushing the skin with a dry brush prior to bathing can relax the body. Apparently, dry brushing stimulates the superficial nerve endings in the skin triggering part of the brain that’s capable of establishing a sense of calm. Steelsmith suggests that quick brushing using upward or circular strokes toward the heart with a dry (soft) natural-bristle brush is the best approach. 6) Flower Baths Both herbal and flower baths have been used for centuries to calm the mind and body. A sublime, healing effect is achieved while the medicinal properties of the flowers, herbs or essential oils, penetrate the skin – not to mention the aromatherapeutic qualities. Lavender’s famous for it’s soothing assets, but there are a wide variety of flower and flower essences that are just as beneficial. 7) Dancing Another no-brainer, yet an effective tool to working stress out of the body, much like exercise. You can shake your body down to the ground almost anywhere and the best part is that it’s absolutely free. 8) Reconnect With Your Inner Child If you’re lucky, early childhood may have been the least stressful period in your life. No heavy responsibilities, the innocent mindset unspoiled by unfortunate life experiences along with the whole notion that play = learning has a lot to do with it. It’s only natural that returning to the activities we once did as children could bring us pleasure and reduce stress. Bouncing around in jumpy houses, doodling and playing video games, to name a few, tend to work for me. Revisiting some of your favorite childhood pastimes may have a healing impact on you too.

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