QuickHit: Give Stress the Boot

A bit of stress keeps you on top of your game, but high levels can have terrible consequences. Here are new ways to combat stress during your workday:

• Shake, literally. This is the natural response to stress, but humans have trained themselves to suppress it, says Arizona therapist Dave Berceli. In his Trauma and Tension Release Exercises, patients jiggle their limbs (simulating trembling) to release tension.

• Squeeze something. The theory is that stress balls work because they make you concentrate on squeezing the ball instead of someone’s neck. Plus, the physical act releases pent-up energy.

 • Be kind. In studying compassion and altruism, Stanford University scientists determined compassion decreases stress. A related study showed that physical markers of stress, such as blood pressure, eased when participants felt compassion for the staffers who evaluated them; researchers theorized that compassionate people could accept support more readily, which reduced their stress. So Proverbs is right: A soft answer turns away others’ wrath—and yours, too. 


Betsy Simnacher is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. She lives in the suburbs of Dallas.

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