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Stress is your worst enemy when it comes to weight loss and overall well-being. As common knowledge as it is, we tend to forget about the biological response to stress: hormones and cortisol production which can lead to weight gain. We feed into the stress as an emotional response. But, before you get frazzled just reading about stress, take a breather. Channel your inner zen master and read theses 7 exercises that will help you lower your stress levels:

1. Mountain Pose: Stand tall and focus on your breathing. This exercise is about quieting your mind. Slowly raise your hands up from your sides, up over your head. Once above your head, put your hands together in a prayer formation and exhale as you bring your hands to your chest.

2. Tai Chi: This is all about harnessing your energy. In fact, tai chi is also referred to as “meditation in motion.” The Mayo Clinic also points out other evidence that tai chi may help the quality of sleep, the immune system, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and even joint pain.

3. Go for a walk: Huffington Post’s article on National Walking Day sourced several studies that backed up these 5 things that walking outside is proven to do: put your brain in a meditative state, reduce stress and improve memory, produce endorphins that reduce stress hormones, improve stress resilience, and mitigate fatigue.

4. Cobra: Expert Yogi Rodney Yee’s suggested pose for stress relief was the cobra. He told FitSugar, “opening your chest in cobra brings instant stress relief.” Yee believes the physical act lightens you and opens you up to receive “the good life has to offer.”

5. Laugh: According to the Mayo Clinic  there are major short term and long term benefits. Past the basic intake of air and stimulation of your heart, lungs, muscles and brain function, “A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure,” (Mayo Clinic).  Ultimately it soothes any tension. In the long run, it will improve your immune system (did you know negative thoughts actually cause a chemical reaction that enhances your stress?), it relieves pain and increases personal satisfaction.

6. Take a Kickboxing or Boxing Class: As Livestrong.com says, this gets out your “aggression.” Sure when you are stressed, taking a “breather” may work, however, you may be wound up to the point that safely letting go (without harming others) is the best option.

7. Dance It Off: Grab a partner and blast some music because, according to the Journal of Applied Gerontology, researchers found that partner dance and musical accompaniment can help bring about stress relief (Everyday Health).

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