There is a gentleman I am a big fan of named Robert Sapolsky, he is the leading scientist on the study of stress. He has been studying Bonobos for decades he has compared stress levels (specifically the chemical glucocorticoids) to there relation to status in their society. “Alpha” Bonobos are the members of the society that have the most sexual partners and are considered at the top (as implied by Alpha or first). It was found that the “Alpha” Bonobos contained the least amount of stress chemically and the most fun chemically (dopamine).
Just as important another study in the UK kept track of medical bills and compared them to job rank in their government. The study paralleled that of the bonobos, the higher the job status the least amount of medical issues the employee had. Medicals issues have been proven to be highly related to stress levels. Stress is the leading cause of cancer. The more stress you have the higher your medical bills.
This teaches us that the less stress we have the more we represent “Alpha”. It also tells us the more fun we have (higher dopamine levels) the more “Alpha” we are. It is very important to not be an anxious human being. Not just for your health but for your status amongst others. The fun guy and his comfort level often represent the most confident person. It is also important to remember that behavior is contagious; someone who has fun often gives us permission to have fun.
How do we lower our Stress?
There are several ways to lower your stress. Here is a small list of proven ways to lower your stress.
Meditation is a proven way to lower your stress. It helps center your mind and quiet your thoughts. Our thoughts can help or hurt us but often times things that consume the most thought are things that are negative. I do this daily if my time allotment allows it.
Exercise is a healthy form of stress it helps relieve our negative stress such as anger, frustration, fear, worry, etc. We do need some stress after all it is merely a form of arousal. Side note: Roller coasters, sky diving, bungee jumping, and other extreme sports are also forms of arousal/stress that we tend to enjoy.
Stretching is another great form of stress relief loosening up the muscles encourages us to relax. It is why yoga is such a phenomenal habit and quite addicting for some folks. I have tried yoga and it is quite relieving. I’m not so disciplined on keeping up with it but I do highly recommend it for people who are highly stressed.
Sex is one of my favorite forms of stress relief. For obvious reasons I find it quite incredible to experience. I don’t find a need to describe it but it does raise your dopamine level.
Nutrition can be huge in your life. If you have an improper diet without the fruits and vegetables you will have a different mindset. If you don’t believe me try it out. Your diet can certainly make you feel better and lower your stress level. If you are consuming foods that aren’t healthy for you your body will not run at an optimum level.
I love laughing. I am by no means a model when it comes to these stress reliefs, with the exception of meditation, however I do laugh a lot. Not like 5 or 6 times a day, I laugh all the time. I have a unique outlook it would seem, I think life is funny and seem to find the humor of every moment. Laughter is my favorite (at the very least most used) form of stress relief.
All those things help lower your stress, but it is also important to take on a mindset of knowing what you have control over. You got a flat tire that sucks, but that doesn’t make it a shitty day. It’s your bitching and moaning, your complaining, not your flat tire that made the day bad. Your reaction to a situation is why you feel bad. I understand you can’t help it, I’ve been there, but you need to control your emotions not let your emotions control you. You have the choice of being aware of your emotion and whether it is really helping or hurting you. Does this mean you should deny and avoid negative emotion? No, but use it properly not for bad events during your day. Yeah let out the yelp of “fucken flat tire”, but then let it go, no sense being stuck on it the rest of the day.