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Simple and Effective Stress Soothers

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Having a Ball on a Ball

Body rolling is incomparable for deep muscle relaxation. You can body roll at home and perhaps even in the office if you can shut your door during a break. By simply resting your body weight on different-sized balls, depending on which part of the body you're relaxing, the muscles close to the bone as well as the larger muscles relax. You can roll down the thighs and calves. You can roll up the spine and then roll up each side of the spine for a total of three times rolling up the back. You can include rolling up your abdomen. Use a smaller ball about the size of a tennis ball to roll on the soles of your feet.

It is best to have plenty of quiet time for body rolling so that you can experience deep relaxation over every nook and cranny of your body. The good news is that you can enjoy body rolling while watching the children or talking on the phone if need be.

Body rolling your entire body in one session would be too intense. Instead, choose a different part for each session. We love body rolling first for relaxation. However, we have noticed improved posture and less cellulite.

Sing Away Your Stress

As I was sharing the Stress Soothers Hall of Fame selections with my husband, he said, “Lucy, you forgot to tell them about the Stones.” I hadn't a clue what he was talking about. He said, “You know, the Stones. Every time the Rolling Stones come on the radio, your brain chemistry changes. You start dancing and singing along.”

Your favorite music might not be the Rolling Stones, but there's probably certain music that makes you feel great. Maybe it's a favorite rock group from your youth or perhaps classical music. Maybe it's the Beatles, Beethoven, disco, or U2. Keep your favorite tunes handy, and when the bad feelings come that make you want to dive into starches, turn on your music and sing along. So don't sing for your supper; instead, sing for your ideal size.

Hobbies and Games

Do you have a hobby, craft, or puzzle that you can pick up when you need to relax? Activities such as knitting, needlepoint, or crossword puzzles can so totally engage your hands and your mind that you cannot eat at the same time. A difficult solitaire game or a computer game may be all you need to get your energy headed in a new direction.

A half-hour or even 15 minutes of knitting can soothe and refresh you. Ditto a craft that you love. Whatever it is, however, you need to keep it accessible at a moment's notice. Unfortunately, gardening is one hobby that you can't do as easily year round, but it's great during the planting and growing seasons.

Other possible activities in this category include reading magazines, polishing silver, art projects, journaling, and playing a musical instrument. If you have a piano that's mostly gathering dust, tap on those ivories as a way to divert the blues.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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