In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to share two more powerful, concrete tips for reducing stress – one from a brand new study.
First a quick update:
“Common characteristics and motives of mass killers”
Fifteen people were gunned down in the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999; 33 people were murdered in the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007; a teen gunman killed 15 people in a shooting rampage in two small German towns, and; another man murdered ten people in a shooting spree in Alabama. Are there common characteristics, warning signs and motives of mass killers? Listen to the interview I gave to Russ Morley, host of the morning show on News/Talk 850 WFTL for insights into the motivations, warning signs and characteristics of mass killers and mass murderers. I reveal the various possible psychological contributing factors (including stress) that when combined can lead a person to become a mass killer.
To listen to my interview visit to Radio-Interviews
Now, let’s talk about more ways to reduce stress.
The two techniques I am sharing with you today are not included in those letters.
In my last Success Newsletter, I revealed that when we experience stress our body releases various chemicals one of which is Cortisol from the Adrenal cortex. Cortisol helps the body with increased blood flow, glucose availability and increased behavioral responses but long term elevated Cortisol levels lead to damage to muscle tissue, increased blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and a weakened immune system -making us more vulnerable to infection and cancer. Thus, when stress is reduced so, too, is Cortisol. One new study now reveals that intimacy, touch, hugs and affection reduce stress by elevating our mood and lowering our cortisol.
Beate Ditzen, Ph.D., a behavioral psychologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland studied 51 couples for a week, asking them to record their activities and take saliva samples every three hours to test cortisol levels. The findings were amazing. All forms of physical closeness and touch lowered stress levels. Every minute spent hugging, kissing, holding hands or having sex lowered stress. And every touch had the same power to soothe and alleviate tension: the more hugs, the less stress. Thus, the tenth hug or kiss had the same positive impact as the first, and ten hugs created ten times as much stress relief as a single hug.
Dr. Ditzen and her colleagues also found that physical intimacy and loving touches also helped to lower work-related stress and other job woes. In other words, during these challenging times, we need the support and love of our friends, family and partner. It is easy, particularly for a man, to shut down and attempt to be tough, harsh and cold falsely believing that this type of response makes him more of a man. This behavior not only adds to personal stress but also takes its toll on his partner and children.
In another study by Brigham Young University, Utah and the University of Utah, involving thirty-four healthy married couples, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, Wendy A. Birmingham, BS and Kathleen C. Light, PhD, discovered that a support intervention such as warm touch enhancement influences physiological stress systems. Their findings support the growing evidence that social and emotional support reduce morbidity and mortality. In fact, the increasing warm touch among couples had a beneficial influence on multiple stress-sensitive systems: it lowered blood pressure, stress and cortisol, while increasing healthy heart function. Thus happily married couples live longer and healthier lives but angry hugs don’t work and unhappily married couples don’t live any longer than single people. As I have said in various newsletters, negative emotions are the primary causes of stress and illness. And this leads to the second tip for reducing stress immediately:
Stop trying to be right.
For example, how many times have you found yourself arguing with someone from customer care?
Recently, I almost had to whack myself on the head to break my trance state as I got caught up arguing a point and a few dollars with a representative from the phone company, AT&T. I wasted over thirty minutes of my life for one reason – I wanted to be right! Now it is true that at times we need to fight for principles and justice but we also need to distinguish when it is more important to be happy than it is to be right.
After thirty minutes of elevated stress, I wondered if I had actually won or lost? I may have won the point and argument but at what price? I had probably sacrificed a good chunk of my health and day for what? It is easy to get caught up in ego, wanting to be validated and told “yes, you are right.” And guess what? If the representative is not in the mood to tell you that you are right, you can easily waste precious life trying to sway him or her. Many years ago, I met a couple who had been married for almost 65 years and I asked them for insights into their success. The husband told me, that he carefully chooses his battles for it is not always better to be right, and he added that “you might win the battle but lose the war!”
This point about letting go of the need to be right can also be explained as learning to accept what we cannot change; learning to accept those things that are beyond and outside of our control.
Sometimes we find ourselves fighting to be right in certain areas of our life because we feel completely out of control in other areas. Thus, become aware in each moment of your feelings and motivations: Are you trying to be right for the sake of being right? Are you projecting your anger, sense of helplessness or feeling of loss of control onto someone else?
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.