This way to Zen: 3 easy ways to beat stress


As if you needed one more thing to stress about, recent studies suggest chronic anxiety could be troublesome for you and your little one. Planning for a baby's arrival can be a mix of emotions: joy, anticipation and fear in equal measure. While you can't allay your worries entirely, it's in your baby's best interest to find stress relief – and fast. Studies now show a correlation between a mother's increased stress levels as early as 17 weeks and complications during delivery. Chronic anxiety, studies report, can lead to premature births and low birth weights. That's a lot to worry about. Here's how to find relief and usher in a calmer, more balanced state of mind:

Slip into your sneakers
Time and time again, the best research has shown that the way to stress relief is through exercise. Going for a walk with a friend allows you to not only get your blood pumping, but talk through your worries and fears too. Schedule in a quick workout (getting your doctor's permission first, of course) and you'll feel its mood-boosting benefits within 5 minutes.

Experiment with acupuncture
A medical practice hailing from ancient China, acupuncture uses tiny needles to redirect energy flow throughout the body. It's now a common practice in the Western world and many laud it for its calming benefits. Needle shy? These hypodermic needles are no thicker than a strand of hair.

Write it down
Sometimes the best way to overcome your fears is to work them out on the page. Pick up a journal and each time you feel overwhelmed or scared about your pregnancy – or anything for that matter – grab a pen and start scribbling. You'll find that naming your fears helps you find perspective and leave your worries behind you.

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