Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Stress Management Health Center

Font Size

4 Stress-Busting Moves You Can Do Anytime

Got a few minutes? Take a break from holiday hassles.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Quick quiz: You're ready to scream after the end of a hectic workday, but a long list of must-do holiday tasks still looms ahead. You fight traffic to get to the mall -- where someone cuts you off to grab the last parking space. You need stress relief and you need it NOW. What's your best option?

A. Scarf down the box of chocolates you've been saving for just such an emergency.
B. Go home and melt into a hot bath.
C. Head to the day spa for a pampering massage.
D. Hit the gym and crank out 20 minutes on the treadmill.

The answer: D. We don't recommend such intensive chocolate therapy. And while massages and long soaks in the tub may feel great, exercise is the best de-stressor over the long term, experts say.

Recommended Related to Stress Management

Keep Your Cool During Holiday Gatherings

By Alia Hoyt Some people just know how to push our buttons, and actually seem to enjoy it. If you are laid back, don't like confrontation or are just sensitive (like I am), dreading the snarky comments that are sure to come from your frenemy/crazy uncle/estranged stepmother can cause serious stress -- and threaten to ruin your perfectly lovely holiday gathering. “Taking the bait [means] to allow someone to lower your level of integrity by letting them bait you into behavior that is beneath you,”...

Read the Keep Your Cool During Holiday Gatherings article > >

Along with the well-known physical benefits, exercise has been shown to "increase one's sense of well-being, mood state, self-esteem, stress responsivity, (and) body image, as well as decreased depression and anxiety," says Jesse Pittsley, PhD, a spokesperson for the American Society for Exercise Physiologists.

Just what is it about exercise that makes a person feel good (other than those toned abs)? And what are the best moves to do when you're feeling stressed, especially when time is at a premium? Three experts gave WebMD some answers.

The Stress Response

"The human body has evolved over the centuries. While we were designed to use our large muscles in difficult environments -- hunting, defending ourselves against enemies, enduring the harshness of weather, the problem is we don't live that way any more," says C. Eugene Walker, a professor of psychology at the University of Oklahoma. "We are very sedentary, and our problems are more mental and social rather than physical."

So when we encounter stressful situations, the result is pent-up physical reactions, says Walker, author of Learn to Relax: Proven Techniques for Reducing Stress, Tension, and Anxiety -- and Promoting Peak Performance.

"It's like driving a Ferrari in a 20 mph speed limit," says Walker. "When (we are) presented with a stressful situation, adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, our muscles get tense as we prepare to react, blood pressure is increased, and breathing becomes shallow and rapid."

"Essentially, we are stressed mentally, which doesn't require a physical response. We are stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time, producing fatigue, tension, stress, and over time, chronic diseases like heart disease."

The solution: Regular exercise.

"Basically, when we exercise, we get back to what our bodies were designed to do," says Walker. "We increase our heart rate, take in more oxygen, our blood circulates better and faster."

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Hands breaking pencil in frustration
stethoscope and dollars
Woman with stressed, fatigue
fatigued woman
hand gripping green rubber ball
family counseling
stress at work
frayed rope

WebMD Special Sections