05 Jan Breaking The Stress Cycle With Good Deeds
Stress is a tough topic to tackle. It is a dynamic issue: stress in the mind creates stress in the body; stress in the body creates stress in the mind. It is an endless loop if you don’t take steps to change it. The good news is that a recent Harvard study has determined one step you can take to reduce stress, and it’s something that can be both a benefit to you and those around you.
Acts of Kindness
Researchers at Harvard have just released findings showing that acts of kindness can reduce stress. They found that when individuals hold the door open for others, let someone squeeze in front of them in traffic, or engage in similar acts of kindness, the stress levels of the person doing the good deed decreases.
Generous acts were shown to increase the amount of positive emotions subjects experienced and to decrease the stress subjects experienced during situations that otherwise would create substantial negative mental reaction. The researchers see this as a “reward for kindness.”
Being Kind to Yourself (and Your Spine)
The habit of being kind to others is a good one to have—regardless of its benefits for your stress levels. Another good habit that will help your stress levels is the habit of caring for your spine.
When you are stressed your body tenses up and your posture changes. If you have a lot of stress and it lasts for a long period of time you can create knots in your muscles, specifically the muscles that line the spine. In this way, stress can create subluxations. Those subluxations lead to a compromised central nervous system and a body that just doesn’t function quite right. This can only add to your stress levels: while the body is depleted it often amplifies the stresses that are in the mind- in turn further affecting the body. Stress exists in a mind-body loop, so you have to stop the cycle in order to reduce stress in your life.
That is why the Harvard study above is so interesting. It gives us yet another way to reduce stress in the mind. Combined with caring for the spine and the body-portion of the stress cycle, you have a recipe to begin to tackle your stress levels. So commit yourself to acts of kindness to strangers and to yourself, and this can be the year you start to break your stress cycle.