Proven Alternatives to Unhealthy Stress-Busters
> 2/9/2007 11:47:24 AM

Despite countless stress-solution articles in magazines and newspapers of all types as well as television news reports and ads harping on the best ways to relax without damaging one's mind or body, far too many people revert to unhealthy behavior in response to daily stressors, adversely influencing their quality of life and ability to concentrate on more important tasks. Most of the recommendations contained in this post are common sense repeated ad infinitum by experts clinical and amateur, but they cannot be overstated.

Television is one of the most common methods of distraction and anxiety reduction, and it is perfectly fine when viewed in moderation (though one can certainly argue about the quality of prime-time programming). And yet, studies confirming the negative implications of frequent TV viewing are too numerous to mention. For one, television lowers metabolism, slowing the body's calorie-burning process, and this change is considerably more prominent among the obese. The link between excessive television and weight gain has long been suspected and more recently confirmed by numerous studies.

Of course, one of the main attractions of both legal and illicit stimulants/intoxicants has always been their purported ability to counteract various stresses. Most who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol frequently or abuse drugs cite relaxation as the substances' primary purpose. Contrary to these claims, repeated studies indicate that alcohol and other depressants (as well as any form of stimulant) disrupt sleeping patterns and eventually increase related anxiety, and innumerable personal testimonials indicate that quitting tobacco can be one of the most physically and mentally stressful processes in one's life.

So what are the healthy alternatives? They are embarrassingly obvious: regular exercise routines, diets heavy in fruits and vegetables, and eight or more hours of sleep a night. Offshoots of these central principles are equally simple: getting sufficient exposure to natural light, drinking water and lowering sugar intake, stretching the muscles and practing deep breathing exercises, maintaining good posture, taking a brisk walk, practicing efficient time management, reading a book instead of watching TV or surfing the net, etc.

While most people are aware of these practical stress-reduction methods, far fewer seem willing to invest the relatively minimal amounts of time and effort required, and it would seem that convenience (read: laziness) is the primary rationale for inaction on behalf of one's mind and body. For all the news about national trends in yoga, diets and stress relievers both holistic and pharmaceutical, most people do not want to expend the neccessary energy. Inactivity is an unfortunate aspect of human nature, particularly in a society focused on instant gratification. We can only print the science and hope more people will pay attention.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy