MegaFood | Sept. 2020

Got stress? Silly question. Of course you do. Everyone has stress and we all experience and express stress in different ways, like frequent insomnia or the inability to focus.

Most of us have heard all the standard stress-busting tips - like exercise more and eat better - so we’re taking the recommendation-road less traveled and sharing these unique tricks that can easily and effectively shut down stress:

1. Get a (NASA-approved) plant . . . and give that plant a name. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology revealed that smelling and touching indoor plants reduced physiological and psychological stress. When you get a plant, choose one that purifies the air (since indoor air pollution contributes to stress) like Peace Lily or English Ivy - both were highlighted in a 1989 study by NASA to identify the best plants to purify space stationsFootnote 1. Once you get a plant, give it a name. In the Los Angeles Times, Norbert Schwarz, a professor of psychology at USC, suggests naming your plant “is a part of having a relationship” and will probably result in “positive consequences” including “probably taking much better care of that plant.”Footnote 2

2. Chew some bubble gum. According to the American Institute of Stress, “there is little doubt that chewing gum can be a powerful stress buster.Footnote 3” Study results published in the Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health revealed that participants who chewed gum two times a day for two weeks rated their anxiety as significantly less than non-gum-chewersFootnote 4. Don’t like gum? Try slowly munching on crunchy foods like carrots or apples - the rhythmic chewing relieves tensions in your jaw and can be quite calming.

3. Turn your to-do list into a be-happy list. All those mundane activities harbor a secret: if done in a mindful state, they can promote an overall sense of well-being. A Florida State University study published in Mindfulness journal found that mindful dishwashing - that is, washing the dishes with a focus on the positives like the relaxing warmth of the water and the pleasant smell of the soap - led to a decrease in nervousness and an increase in mental inspirationFootnote 5. Use this same mindfulness when approaching any repetitive task or chore, like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, ironing, chopping veggies, pulling weeds, dusting, vacuuming (the list, as you know, goes on and on).

4. Take a stand on slouching. As reported in the New York Times, researchers for a study published in Health Psychology concluded that “sitting upright may be a simple behavioral strategy to help build resilience to stressFootnote 6.” So, how do you banish the slouch? A Harvard Health Letter article reveals “the key to fixing poor posture is strengthening and stretching the muscles in the upper back, chest, and core” and shared this simple trick for improving posture while you’re sitting (even watching TV) from Saloni Doshi, a physical therapist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital: “Put a rolled towel behind your shoulders. It makes you sit up straight so the towel won’t fallFootnote 7.”

5. Put stress in its place. Psychology Today reports that UCLA researchers “discovered that reflecting on personal values can actually lower your stress response and keep it low” because it “reminds you of what’s really important and puts the stressor into perspectiveFootnote 8.” In other words, when you see your personal values as character strengths, you become stronger than the stress and can help diminish its power over you. Let’s hear it for strong values!

6. Embrace stress (yes, embrace it). Psychologist Kelly McGonigal encourages us to view stress as a teacher, writing in her book, The Upside of Stress, that “stress can make us stronger, smarter, and happier - if we learn how to embrace itFootnote 9.” In an interview with Stanford news, McGonigal shares three important beliefs about stress: 1) to view your body’s stress response as helpful, not debilitating – for example, to view stress as energy you can use; 2) to view yourself as able to handle, and even learn and grow from, the stress in your life; and 3) to view stress as something that everyone deals with, and not something that proves how uniquely screwed up you or your life isFootnote 10.”

7. Power & protect your immunity. Being stressed can suppress your immune system. Protect your immunity by properly washing your hands often, getting enough sleep and eating well . . . and support your immunity by taking the MegaFood immune-boosting supplements you need most, whether it’s Elderberry Immune Support Gummy vitamins, Daily C-Protect Nutrient Booster Powder™ or Immune Defense* tablets.

Still looking for more ways to combat stress? Shop all of our sleep & stress supplements that can aid your body in achieving a greater sense of calm.*

1 Wolverton, Johnson, & Bounds (1989) Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077 2 Los Angeles Times (2020) The very specific rules for naming your houseplants, according to scientists https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-02-28/what-should-i-name-my-plant 3 American Institute of Stress https://www.stress.org/chewing-gum-reduces-stress 4 Sasaki-Otomaru, Sakuma, Mochizuki, Ishida, Kanoya, Sato (2012) Effect of Regular Gum Chewing on Levels of Anxiety, Mood, and Fatigue in Healthy Young Adults https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3158435/ 5 Florida State University (2015) Chore or stress reliever: Study suggests that washing dishes decreases stress https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151001165852.htm 6 Nair, Sagar, Sollers, Consedine & Broadbent (2015) Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25222091/ 7 Harvard Health Letter (2019) Is it too late to save your posture? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-it-too-late-to-save-your-posture 8 Psychology Today (2018) 9 Surprising Superpowers of Knowing Your Core Values https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201811/9-surprising-superpowers-knowing-your-core-values 9 McGonigal (2016) The Upside of Stress http://kellymcgonigal.com/books 10 Stanford News (2015) Embracing stress is more important than reducing stress, Stanford psychologist says https://news.stanford.edu/2015/05/07/stress-embrace-mcgonigal-050715/