Last Updated Jun 14, 2011 4:38 PM EDT
Here's another one: grab a piece of chewing gum. (And, um, chew it.) According to a Swinburne University of Technology study, gum-chewing has been found to "relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress among individuals in a laboratory setting."
Granted, a laboratory is not the same as an office (though some would argue differently), but check out the conditions of the study: individuals were monitored while performing "a battery of 'multi-tasking' activities.' Sound like anyplace you know?
Here's an overview of some of the study's findings:
- Gum chewers showed a reduction in anxiety as compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17 percent during mild stress and nearly 10 percent in moderate stress.
- Gum chewers showed improvement in alertness over non-gum chewers by nearly 19 percent during mild stress and 8 percent in moderate stress.
- Improved Performance: Chewing gum resulted in a significant improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities.
So, how does gum work this magic? In part by lowering the level of cortisol -- a steroid hormone released in response to stress -- in your system.
A few words of advice before you reach for the Trident: don't crack or pop your gum, and for heaven's sake, chew with your mouth closed. In fact, I'd say keep the gum out of meetings, as that whole cow-chewing-the-cud look isn't pleasant for anyone.
Your thoughts on gum as a stress killer?
More on BNET: