Don't Miss This
CHICAGO (CBS) — Americans are more stressed than ever, with 75 percent of us reporting some kind of stress every two weeks.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports, all the stress is creating big business opportunities for companies looking to help you lighten up, by selling stress solutions.
You likely wouldn’t be able to tell it from listening to Robert as he laughs riotously, but he is totally stressed out. So are two others laughing with him, Tina and Cathleen.
So if they’re so stressed, why are they laughing?
They’re achieving their stress relief through laughter yoga, a discipline created by a medical doctor in India, and now practiced all over the world.
“Laughter is very, very healthy. It’s very aerobic,” said laughter ambassador Alex Eingorn. “It engages every single organ system in the body. There are certain core muscles that only get engaged while you’re laughing.”
A study by the American Physiological Society found even anticipating a laugh could produce endorphins, and shut down production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Meanwhile at Shepherd’s Corner in Blacklick, Ohio, Tina Thonnings prefers a quieter stress release in the form of walking labyrinths.
“When I’m walking this labyrinth I don’t even remember what my worries were,” she said.
Unlike mazes, labyrinths have only one path in and one path out – a perfect setup for peaceful reflection.
“The psychologists say when you walk the labyrinth, your left brain gets engaged in following that path and that leaves your right brain free just for the intuitive to happen,” said Sister Diane Kozlowski, OP, of Shepherd’s Corner.
There is a Web-based listing of labyrinths all around Illinois, although some people just create them in their own backyards.
Drumming is another popular method for stress relief.
“What we’ve found is people are able to relieve their stress by just hitting a drum, by playing it,” said Robert Lawrence Friedman, president of Stress Relief Solutions and the founder of Drumming Away Stress. “They stay in the moment, they’re in the here and now, and they’re able to get out some of their emotions and feelings just through their hands.”
One study found people in an hour-long drumming session experienced a reversal in stress hormones in their bloodstream.
Drum circles can be found all over the Chicago area and the suburbs – some just for women or men, others for everyone.
Whatever you do to release your stress, experts say you need to make sure it’s something you enjoy.
“It’s got to be something that you know you’re going to feel better after you’ve done it and you really want to do it. Otherwise it’s just another chore and your life is going to be more stressful,” said Dr. Claire E. Wheeler of Portland State University, and a senior faculty member of the School of Community Health and the Center of Mind Body Medicine.
The best thing about these stress relief ideas is that none of them cost a lot of money – just another perk that might ease your stress mind.