Several Unexpected Ways to De-stress
Stress can wreak havoc on your health – the roll call of side effects includes everything from headaches to sleep problems, anxiety, loss of motivation and even overeating. However, unless you’ve been living on a remote mountain top devoid of technology and alternating between meditating and around the clock yoga, you’re likely to have some level of stress in your day-to-day life. This is why it pays to have a few effective ways to de-stress and find calm. And it’s even better when they’re methods scientifically proven to work.
Doing the dishes
You may think this task would bring on stress but on the contrary, a dishwashing session can really help de-stress. According to research from Florida State University, mindfully washing the dishes can calm the mind and leave you feeling less stressed. In fact, those who took part in the study experienced a 25 per cent increase in mental inspiration.
Smelling your partner’s t-shirt
Ladies, this is for you. If you’re about to embark on a stressful task such as an important presentation or job interview, then go forth and sniff your partner’s shirt! Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that women who smelled an item of clothing with their partner’s scent right before a high-stress situation were found to have lower cortisol levels. A bit whiffy but hey, if it works…
A Swinburne University study found that levels of cortisol in the saliva (a common physiological sign of stress) in gum chewers were reduced by 16 per cent during mild stress and almost 12 per cent in moderate stress, compared to those who didn’t chew gum. A recent Japanese study found similar effects – discovering that chewing sugarless gum for 10-15 minutes reduced cortisol levels.
Looking at an aquarium
Results from a joint study conducted from University of Exeter, Plymouth University and the National Marine Aquarium in the UK, found that those who spend time watching aquariums and fish tanks experienced a positive effect on their physical and mental well-being. Results reflected lower heartrates, reduced blood pressure and an improvement in peoples’ moods.
Admiring the ocean
There have been numerous studies exploring the impact that spending time in nature has on our mental health. And now, researchers from Michigan State University have honed in on the benefits of looking at water. Scientists found a link between increased views of blue space (such as the ocean) and a decrease in psychological stress. So, to bring on calm, finding a spot by the water might be just the ticket.
Sweating it out
Exercise has an endless list of health benefits but for an effective de-stress, try working out with a group. Research from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine found that training in a group situation was found to reduce the stress levels of the study’s participants by 26 per cent whereas those who worked out alone experienced no significant changes.
Knitting to de-stress
Your granny’s favourite pastime might be the stress reliever you’re looking for. A study from Cardiff University analysed a survey conducted amongst 3,545 knitters worldwide. And the result? Most participants reported that they used knitting as a means of relaxation and stress relief. The research found that as an activity, knitting had significant psychological and social benefits. The study even uncovered a connection between the frequency of knitting sessions and feelings of calm. This may be linked to the discovery by Princeton University’s, Dr Barry Jacobs, who found that repetitive movements can help trigger the release of serotonin, the hormone associated with feelings of happiness. Time to cast on, everyone?