What’s New About Stress? part 2

by Susan Andrews, PhD

Last column I started to describe a list of “20 Scientifically Backed Ways to De-Stress Right Now” from the HuffPost. We only got through 10 of the suggestions. The list is creative and offers some easy and very fast ways to take a quick relaxation break. I have tried the Naam Yoga Hand Trick and found that it totally works in moments. Apply pressure to the space between your second and third knuckle (the joints at the base of your pointer and middle fingers); it creates a sense of instant calm. Author Sharon Melnick of Success Under Stress, said that “it activates a nerve that loosens the area around the heart, so any of that fluttery feeling you feel when you are nervous will end up going away.”

The article suggests that if you do not have music or headphones handy, try humming or making your own music. Another suggestion was to use the internet to find guided meditations and/or uTube music for relaxation. A good laugh is always a winner to break into the mood. For example, a viral video. The Mayo Clinic explains that “laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.” Or, remember one of those times you were so tickled that you laughed until you cried.

Another of the 20 tips was to Eat a Banana (Or a Potato!). By way of explanation of the science behind this suggestion, the article said that potassium help regulate blood pressure. Eating a banana or potato also provides energy. They quoted the American Psychological Association as recommending eating a banana or potato to “stave off the physical detriments of stress.”

Try the Eagle Pose if you are a yoga practitioner. This is supposed to open the shoulders and relieve neck tension. The Eagle Pose, also known as Garudasana, improves your balance and stretches your upper back, shoulders and outer thighs. Regularly practicing this pose can strengthen your leg, knees and ankles. Your spine should be erect and hips and shoulder face forward.

Mindfulness and meditation teacher, Dr. Herbert Benson, has suggested that knitting fulfills two criteria of mindfulness practice: “the repetition of a sound, word, phrase prayer, or movement, and the passive setting aside of intruding thoughts and returning to the repetition.”

Finally, the list offers “Chew a Piece of Gum!” Honestly, the explanation is that chewing can relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress. They quote a 2008 study on the benefits of chewing gum.

To sum up the unusual list of 20 Scientifically Backed Ways to De-Stress Right Now:
1. Go for a 10-minute Walk
2. Breathe Deeply
3. Visualize
4. Eat a Snack (Mindfully!)
5. Buy Yourself a Plant
6. Step Away from the Screen
7. Pucker Up
8. Naam Yoga Hand Trick
9. Hang up, Then Turn Off Your Phone
10. Put on Some Music
11. Eat ONE Candy
12. Find web-based stress mgt program
13. Chew a Piece of Gum
14. Watch a Viral Video
15. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
16. Seriously, Turn off your phone
17. See your BFF
18. Eat a Banana or Potato
19. Try the Eagle Pose
20. Knit or cross-stitch

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *