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By Mandy Oaklander for Prevention.com

 

Sign 1 that you’re stressed: You get a basic “How are you?” and steam starts to billow out of your ears.

Sign 2 that you’re stressed: You’re a woman.

In one of the most comprehensive and long-term studies ever done about stress in the United States, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University polled 2,000 adults in 1983, 2006, and 2009.

Their results, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, showed that women reported higher levels of stress than any other group, surpassing even low-income individuals.

And over the 26-year span of the study, stress among all groups rose 10-30%.

There’s a kernel of good news, though: As people aged, they reported less stress. “We know that stress contributes to poorer health practices, increased risk for disease, accelerated disease progression, and increased mortality,” says Sheldon Cohen, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon and one of the study’s researchers.

We’re no strangers to stress-relief tips. But you can only breathe deeply for so many ohms and gaze placidly at the ocean so many times.

Other than deepening your breath (which, by the way, does work) what else can you do to exorcise your anxiety? Try out these 3 weird tips suggested by experts—no heavy breathing required.

1. Pop a probiotic, says Jason Tetro, a microbiologist at the University of Ottawa known as the “Germ Guy.” Why? “Symptoms of stress are partly due to the immune system,” he says. Sources of probiotics include yogurt, creamy kefir, or a supplement with at least 1 billion CFU (colony forming units).

Keep reading for two more tips

More reading from Prevention.com:

Relationship between household chores and women’s stress levels
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