Consumer Retreat: Wiseman’s List of Stress Busters

What do the National Research Federation’s (NRF) holiday sales forecast, and a British psychologist’s research on stress reduction have in common? Both are evidence of consumer retreat from the marketplace.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman applied his research on stress busting by designing a stress-free room. To accompany the installation, he offered up the following tips for stress busting. Note, few of them cost anything, save the music and lavender. The NRF is forecasting the worst holiday shopping season in 25 years.. It’s not just the credit crunch at work here. Consumers are moving away from identities acquired “off-the-shelf” and gravitating toward those derived from the natural world, sensory-laden experiences and human connection.

Dr. Wiseman’s Stress busting tips:

1) Head for the countryside. Research shows that spending around thirty minutes in green and quiet surroundings will make you feel significantly more relaxed.

2) Listen to soothing music. Listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a relaxation tape, or nature sounds lowers your blood pressure.

3) Carry out a relaxation exercise. Starting at your toes and working upwards, spend a few moments slowly tensing, and then releasing, the muscles of each part of your body.

4) Spend time with friends. Being with people you like helps distract you from anxious thoughts and lifts your mood.

5) Help others. Research shows that even carrying out a small act of kindness, such as making a donation to charity, helps improve your mood and decreases stress.

6) Accept what you can’t change. There is no point dwelling on the past, or thinking about what can’t be altered. Instead, focus on how you can create a better future.

7) Smile more. Don’t take life too seriously, and improve your ability to cope with stressful situations by seeing the funny side of whatever happens.

8) Use lavender. Research shows that most people find the smell of lavender especially relaxing, and that it also helps them get a good night’s sleep.

9) Hit the gym. Exercise promotes the production of endorphins, which, in turn, make you feel better about yourself and become more relaxed.

10) Look at the sky. If it is a nice day, lie on the grass, look up at a clear sky, and allow positive thoughts and images to drift through your mind.

My goal today…try all 10. Or will that overload me and stress me out? Okay, maybe five!