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Release Your Stress Tonight
No-cost stress relievers to help couples get through tough times.

John Dalog
Slow down the clock and relax, you're relationship will be better for it.

Some days it seems like bad news just keeps coming. Unemployment is up. The stock market is down. Gas prices are up, down, and up again. You may not be able to control these things, but you can control your reactions to themóand you can do it without spending a dime. Try these quick, easy and free stress busters.

Humor and Laughter
If itís true that high stress can lead to physical calamities, then perhaps itís also true that humor and laughter can heal. In his book Love, Medicine and Miracles, Dr. Bernie Siegel wrote that humor not only may have the potential to relieve pain directly, but that it also diverts your attention and helps you relax.

In truth, itís not stress that causes physical problems; itís the way you react to stress. Instead of letting stress make you ill, how about using humor and laughter to help you heal? When you laugh and have fun, your body releases natural opiates called endorphinsóthe ultimate "natural high." Finding humor and laughter when youíre all stressed out may seem like a difficult task, but like anything else, it can become a habit if you practice long enough.

Go Through the Motions
To build your levels of happiness, joy, purpose and fulfillment, sometimes you might have to go through the motions of offering yourself gifts that you donít believe you deserve. If you knew your sweetheart was having a bad day, you might draw a nice bath, light candles around the tub and place special salts or oils in the bathwater. Maybe youíd play soft music, turn down the lights and turn the telephone ringer off. Youíd then greet your sweetie at the door to grab their briefcase or purse, hand them a glass of wine and send them in for a stress-melting bath. Youíd do that for a lover, but when was the last time you treated yourself with such respect and love?

My challenge for you and for myself is to just go through the motions. Tonight you might be sitting in that bathwater thinking, What on earth am I doing here? Thatís okay. Eventually, actions become habits, and habits become part of your personality, which builds your character and turns you into the type of person you were always meant to beófilled with happiness instead of stress.

Letís Be Clear
I used to believe that if I had a grievance, an opposing opinion, or a legitimate complaint with someone, I had to bite my tongue in order to be perceived as a nice guy. On those rare occasions when I chose to tell the person how I felt or how theyíd wronged me, I felt as though I was attacking them. And Iím not the attacking type, so I learned to keep it to myself. If you believe in a mind-body connection, as I firmly do, then you know that bottling things up leads to stress, uneasiness and disease.

Youíre obviously going to have disagreements on occasion. To keep from making yourself unhealthy practice being clear with people. If you have a disagreement that needs to be resolved remember to keep it between the two of you, discuss it in private, stick to the facts and stay focused on your desire to restore harmony and retain the relationship.

Bottom line: All three strategies will help increase your nice factor, and being nice is a surefire way to help get rid of your stress and make for a happy spouse.

Winn Claybaugh is the author of "Be Nice (Or Else!)" and "one of the best motivational speakers in the country," according to CNNís Larry King. Winn is the co-owner of hair care giant Paul Mitchellís school division. His clients include Southwest Airlines, the Irvine Company, Vidal Sassoon, Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, For Rent magazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Visit www.BeNiceOrElse.com to sign up for his free monthly Be Nice (Or Else!) newsletter.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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