What Really Helps Stress

Earlier this week an article popped up on my RSS feed about two studies done on the link between crying and stress relief and cursing and stress relief.

The first study found that crying does not relieve stress. The second study found that reading a list of curse words was more stressful for the subjects than reading a list of euphemisms  or clean words. The article author points out that this wasn’t a well designed experiment, though. (Click on the link above for more information.)

Reading this article made me wonder about other research on this topic. Any Tom, Dana or Harry on the Internet can claim that dryer lint or newt eyes are a cause or cure of stress so I tried to find the most reputable sources possible without paying to read them. Unfortunately this means that some links lead only to abstracts from journals.

One study does not prove a correlation between a specific activity and stress, of course, but it’s still fascinating to see some of the less intuitive entries on these lists!

Stress Reducers

Regular exercise, meditation, sleep, time-outs, realistic expectations, reframing, humor, and a good support system.  – Source. (All solutions are talked about in great detail in this well-written, free document. )

Owning a pet. – Source.

Violent video games. – Source.

Deep breathing. – Source.

Black tea.  – Source. ( I’m so sensitive to caffeine that this probably wouldn’t work for me! )

Biofeedback. – Source.

Kissing. – Source.

Sex…but only if you’re a rat. 😉 – Source.

Stress Enhancers

Cigarettes, caffeine, sugar, drugs and alcohol, and tranquilizer-type drugs. – Source.

Procrastination. – Source.

Growing older, having a neurotic personality. – Source.

Childhood abuse, living in a city, certain diseases that affect the immune system like eczema or rheumatoid arthritis, anyone experiencing financial strain, less educated people, night-shift work, being a caregiver. – Source.

Mixed Bag

The following items may or may not reduce stress. Studies are either inconclusive or have shown mixed results.

Religion.  – Source.

Valerian root. – Source.

Being around calm people.  –Source.

(The image used in this post, “Balls Unstable,” is by Danilo Rizzuti and was found on FreeDigitalPhotos.)


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