02 Mar Stress free in 4 steps? Easy as…
via Eric Barker – Barking Up The Wrong Tree
The modern world seems to be designed to increase stress and I’m starting to wonder if worrying will soon be an Olympic sport.
You may have your own ways of coping with stress. Problem is, research says they probably don’t work.
From The Willpower Instinct:
The APA’s national survey on stress found that the most commonly used strategies were also rated as highly ineffective by the same people who reported using them. For example, only 16 percent of people who eat to reduce stress report that it actually helps them. Another study found that women are most likely to eat chocolate when they are feeling anxious or depressed, but the only reliable change in mood they experience from their drug of choice is an increase in guilt.
So let’s go after this stress thing where it lives: your brain. There are some great methods to train your mind to reduce stress…
But they take work. And right now you’re too stressed out for any of that. (Or maybe you’re just lazy and impatient. Hey, I don’t judge.)
So we need some stuff that’s diabolically easy and backed by neuroscience research — but let’s keep the emphasis on diabolical. If your brain won’t play fair, neither will we. So what do we need here?
Old fashioned treachery. Of the neuroscience variety. Time to do an end run around your brain’s stress response and exploit physiology to trick it into calming down. Let’s play neurological hardball…
1) Clench Your Facial Muscles And Relax Them
Communication between your brain and your body is a two-way street. There’s a feedback loop. So if you can’t get your brain to make your body calm down, you can use your body to make your brain calm down.
Your grey matter gets stressed and your muscles tighten up. Then your tense muscles send a signal back to your brain, confirming you’re stressed. We gotta break the loop.
Clench your facial muscles and then relax them. Now your body is sending a signal to your brain saying, “We’re not stressed anymore. You shouldn’t be either.”
To remind your brain to relax your muscles, sometimes it’s helpful to clench them first. Take a deep breath in and then flex a tight muscle for a few seconds. After holding for a few seconds, exhale with a sigh and relax. The most important muscles to relax are your facial muscles, since those have the largest effect on emotion, but relaxing your hands, butt, and stomach are also important.
If your partner is around and you don’t feel like making a face that looks like you’re constipated, have them give you a massage. That works too.
(To learn the four rituals neuroscience says will make you happier, click here.)
So funny faces can beat stress. Or maybe you’re getting a massage instead. That’s even better. You’re less stressed and you’re bonding with your partner.
But what if facial scrunching doesn’t work? What other dirty physiological tricks do we have?
…keep reading the full & original article HERE