Stress-busting secrets, for holidays or any days, from Convention 2022

By Janet Weyandt, YSN

Nobody knows more about beating stress than Vicki Hitzges, who has studied it, spoken about it and, during BrandSource’s Women in Business breakfast at Convention 2022, seemingly demonstrated every possible way to conquer it.

The keynoter kept the audience in stitches, but not until after reviewing the stats of stress:

  • One Hershey’s kiss can block a five-syllable stress hormone she didn’t even try to pronounce.
  • Fifty-seven percent of women relieve stress by shopping.
  • A GM study that found 80% of the population feels stress, and the source of stress for 98% of them is their appearance.
  • Most startling, stress is the No. 1 health problem facing Americans today. 

“You feel stress and it comes from somewhere,” Hitzges said. “Fear creates stress. Another cause is wrong attitudes. People who are negative are going to feel a lot more stress and cause a lot more stress than people who are positive. You know the type.” 

Some of the easiest ways to zap stress are well known: “Work it out, talk it out, take time out, laugh or cry it out, map it out,” she said. “Talk to someone who can keep your confidence. You don’t need to talk to somebody who will fix stuff, you just need to talk it out. Sometimes the world gets overwhelming and you’ve got to cry. Give yourself permission.”

Another powerful stress reliever is laughter, Hitzges said, and to prove the point, she played a recording of a friend’s loud and infectious chortle, which got the room rolling. 

If those tricks don’t help, she said, there are certain props that will take stressbusting to the next level. First up: bubble wrap. She called three group members to the stage, handed them each a sheet of bubble wrap and told them to have at it. While they popped, she explained. 

“A study found if you pop two sheets of bubble wrap, tensions drop,” she said. “There are apps on your phone that are bubble wrap apps. You wouldn’t think they’d be satisfying, but they are. They’re wonderful.” For bubble enthusiasts, those are the Bubble Free app on iPhone and Bubble Pop on Android. 

For her next strategy, she gave cans of apple-scented air fresheners to a couple of members and asked them to run around the room spraying. In a study of men doing math problems, she said, their tension levels dropped with the scent of fresh green apples. As her can experiment showed, however, the scent doesn’t have to be fresh, and the apples don’t have to be green. Surrounding yourself with a pleasing scent is a great way to relieve stress, Hitzges said. 

Other simple ways of thwarting stress include:

  • Drinking ice cold water. “Your body temperature drops, which means more calories burned,” she said. Cold water also boosts dopamine and endorphins.
  • Sitting up straight. “When you feel stressed, you tend to slump over, which cuts off the oxygen supply and magnifies your feeling of hopelessness,” she said.
  • Chewing gum. Besides burning a few calories, the action of chewing gum also helps burn stress. 

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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