Yes, I’m talking about cigarettes and to be clear – the TRUTH is that they don’t reduce stress. They increase heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, while delivering thousands of chemicals to the lungs and into the circulatory system where they are delivered to cells throughout the entire body.
But that’s more about cigarettes than I really want to say. What I really want to suggest is an alternative stress-reducing behavior that really works, costs less, smells better, and is not linked to any negative health conditions. In fact the regular use of this stress-buster has actually been associated with lower blood pressure! They can also fit neatly into a pocket so we can always have them with us. They are drastically less expensive, too!
There is even less of a social stigma related to the use of my suggested stress buster. In fact, people who use my suggested stress-buster will generally be perceived (even by complete strangers) as fun, interesting, and even youthful! Widespread adoption of this stress-management practice could prevent premature death of millions of individuals.
While insurance coverage for this product isn’t likely in the foreseeable future, it’s so affordable that cost will not be a factor for any current user of those other supposed “stress reducers.” If you or someone you love is using cigarettes to manage their stress, these tubes of bubble stuff are a bargain! I can get 100 of these little vials for $15 at a craft store (look in the wedding section.)
Each of these little tubes of bubble stuff can be used for approximately 30 minutes of deep breathing practice. Deep breathing for 15 minutes a day (5 sessions of 3 minutes each or 3 sessions of 5 minutes each) has been shown to lower blood pressure. Do the math! A 15 cent vial of bubble stuff covers two days of deep breathing (without any annoying child-proof lids!)
No, I’m not saying you should stop taking your blood pressure medicine. No, I’m not practicing medicine without a license. No, I’m not offering this suggestion as an alternative to seeing your medical professional. But this intervention is simple, affordable, portable, and let’s face it – FUN! And yes – deep breathing is an FDA approved treatment for stress and high blood pressure! In clinical trials it has also been shown to either amuse or annoy 73% of cats. (I may have made that last part up, but it sounds plausible, right?)
Oh Snap! I’m Playing THAT Card!
WARNING: Blowing bubbles may cause you to smile, smirk, or even laugh out loud. In some cases, bubble blowers report feeling less stress and lose interest in freaking out. Don’t blow bubbles while operating heavy machinery or juggling chainsaws. Contact your Doctor if you think he or she could benefit from blowing bubbles.