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Writing thank you notes and expressing gratitude can help clear your mind of stress.

Writing thank you notes and expressing gratitude can help clear your mind of stress.

While we normally associate contagious behavior with diseases like the cold and the flu, or even more innocent actions like yawning, stress is actually something that can be passed around people too! It's bad enough when you're feeling stressed, but it's even worse if you unknowingly spread it to the people around you. Luckily, just as there's a flu shot that can help protect you from that virus, there are also vaccines (of sorts) that can better shield you against stress — both your own and others'.

The healthy living website Care2 has outlined three of these "stress vaccines" that can help bolster brain health and overall mood in the face of stress:

  • Be grateful: Expressing gratitude toward others — such as writing out thank-you notes — is a great way for not only making others feel appreciated, but can also allow you to pause and reflect on some of the positive experiences in your life. Thinking positively and practicing gratitude go hand-in-hand with cutting back stress.
  • Eat well and exercise: A proper diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables coupled with a regular workout regimen can keep your body in tip-top shape. Better physical health also leads to sunnier mental health, keeping so many of those common stress agents in our lives at bay.
  • Meditate: It may sound too new age-y for some, but meditating can not only clear your head and leave your mind at peace, but also has a number of health benefits too! Research studies have found that meditation improves brain function and reduces risks for heart disease, anxiety, cancer, insomnia and depression — all resulting in a healthier, stress-free you.

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