Easing Your Mind

Stress is overtaxing the system — in this case, a physical response to an emotional state. One way to minimize the physical symptoms (discomfort, sweaty

Stress busters

Here are some cool gadgets and gizmos on the market that can help chill you out before a date or anytime you need to kick back a bit:

I Rain chimes (the sound of falling rain)

I Aromatherapy pendants

I Relaxese Glasses (calming flickering lights)

i Herbal pillows

I Tub Tea (giant herbal tea bags for the bath) I Meditation tapes

All this great stuff is widely available in New Age stores or catalogs such as Stress Less (800-555-3783 or www.stressless.com).

I Electric foot massager

I Flexaball (giant ball on which you roll

I Indoor fountains

I Shower massagers around)

palms, rapid heart beat, anxiety, queasy stomach) is to ease your mind, and your body will follow suit. Dealing with your emotions, fears, and worries is probably your best defense against freaking — you know, that state in which even the smallest inconvenience or most insignificant problem can send you over the edge.

Stress can be a snowball. If you're not careful, it's easily an avalanche. If one thing goes wrong when you've let yourself become really tense, you're suddenly tossing your hands up in the air and ready to forfeit the whole game. Don't go there. Instead, it's time for a reality check. Ask yourself the following questions:

1 What do I really feel? Have I jammed a couple of unrelated memories and fears together to make a stress sandwich? Stop and ask yourself what's the worst that could possibly happen? Believe it or not, allowing your fear to be specific rather than abstract, putting a face on your fear as it were, can really help because doing so defines, and then lessens, the fear. The bogeyman thrives in the dark.

1 Are my nerves talking, or am I? How many times have you tripped over your tongue or your good manners and said to yourself, "I can't believe I just said that!" If it should happen to you on your date (and it happens to everyone), 'fess up right away. Apologize. Tell your date you were momentarily possessed. Just don't let one faux pas fester into an ugly, giant, oozing ball of stress.

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