Wired recently ran a story about an arcade game in Japan that seeks to help pressurized people relieve everyday stress. Super Table-Flip lets the game player pound on a table replica input device to get the attention of his virtual family or co-workers, and as they become more annoying make the ultimate decision to flip the table altogether, sending everything and everyone flying.
Hmmm. Very funny, but stress relief? Science knows effective stress relief to be much more about consciously controlling the body's built-in stress response than it is about fantasy "venting."
WebMD has a good overview article on stress that includes the following sound information:
What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?
Chronic stress can wear down the body's natural defenses, leading to a variety of physical symptoms, including:
- Dizziness or a general feeling of "being out of it"
- General aches and pains
- Grinding teeth, clenched jaw
- Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
- Increase in or loss of appetite
- Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders
- Problems sleeping
- Racing heart
- Cold and sweaty palms
- Tiredness, exhaustion
- Weight gain or loss
- Upset stomach, diarrhea
- Sexual difficulties
Tips for Reducing Stress
People can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives. Here are some tips to help you keep stress at bay.
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
- Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.
- Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Learn to manage your time more effectively.
- Set limits appropriately and say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life.
- Make time for hobbies and interests.
- Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
- Don't rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors to reduce stress.
- Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you love.
- Seek treatment with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in stress management or biofeedback techniques to learn more healthy ways of dealing with the stress in your life.