Considering all the negative effects of stress, from erectile dysfunction to heart disease, it's no wonder stress.org calls it America's number one problem. It definitely sounds like we're not stressing out as much as we should about this whole stress issue.
#2 problem in the U.S.: Screaming men stuck in exploding concrete blocks.
Nothing on this list will reduce stress more efficiently than enjoying all those dirty pleasures everyone says you shouldn't enjoy. An Australian study discovered that skipping work or buying that solid gold ice cream scooper is exactly the kind of irresponsible behavior that keeps you stress-free, happy and healthy. Almost everyone engages in this behavior and it seems to be the best way to release steam.
So How is This Helpful?
According to the author of Everything Bad is Good for You, everything from watching trashy reality TV to playing video games can reduce your stress level. Not only do these activities improve chemical and neurological reactions inside the brain, but they release calming hormones that regulate our bodies. On a less biological level, "bad" habits prepare us for interactions with our culture, increasing the efficiency of socialization. Basically by watching American Idol you have something to talk about at work, and smoking breaks are the place to be for the best company gossip.
"That Lambert kid sure had some pipes, huh?"
As for spending all your money on crap and not bothering to work hard? It turns out that it might be the healthiest behavior in your life. A recent study showed that Swedish people are the happiest in the world, but not because they are all blond-haired, furniture building ex-models.
The secret to their happiness seems to be the fact that their socio-economic classes are very close to each other. Basically no one in Sweden is really "rich," which makes everyone (including the rich people) healthier and happier. Interestingly enough, this holds true on a larger scale: Countries that are going through a depression tend to report higher well-being among their population. Sure, people are going to grumble about not affording three plasma screens, but they will secretly be happier because they know everyone is just like them: miserable. So let's keep this recession going, guys!
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And find out about how video games are actually benefiting us, in 6 Ways Video Games Are Saving Mankind. Or find out how 2010 is bad for our health, in 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable.
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