My mother recently told me that she read a news story about a study that showed that clenching your fist can help you deal with stress.
The study concluded that clenching fists, calf muscles or biceps "can serve as a non-conscious source to recruit willpower, facilitate self-control, and improve consumer wellbeing."
My mother said she started that same day to practice clenching her fist in order to relieve tension.
In this study, half the group were told to clench muscles as they took part in the experiments, the other half were not given any instructions.
I wonder what the results would look like if the study compared people clenching muscles in response to stress with people relaxing and thinking positive thoughts.
Also, the study only examined the short term effect of clenching muscles. I wonder what the results would be if it compared the long term effects of frequently clenching muscles in response to stress vs. frequently relaxing and thinking positive thoughts.
Unfortunately, people who get their health information from the daily news read this and say to themselves, "The latest scientific evidence indicates that clenching your muscles in response to stress is good for you. I must do it."
And unfortunately, news editors are not aware that lay people act on a lot of the health information that they publish and make decisions about their health based on studies that they are not able to interpret correctly.
The results of this study run contrary to what five thousand years of yoga have proven; the best way to alleviate stress is to train ourselves to greet it with an inner calm and awareness rather than with anger, anxiety, and aggression.