Brought to you by Good Health magazine
Feeling a little anxious or stressed out? Try these quick remedies to lift your mood.
Quick-fix tactic #1
Mow the lawn.
University of Queensland researchers say the scent of freshly cut grass can not only dampen a person’s response to stress, but by doing so it protects the brain against the long-term damage, such as memory loss, that can be caused by chronic stress. And it’s not because it brings back pleasant memories – grass actually contains stress-relieving chemicals that are released when the blades are cut. Don’t have a lawn? Don’t stress. So confident are the study’s scientists about the effectiveness of their finding, they developed a relaxing, grass-smelling scent called SerenaScent. Visit www.serenascent.com.au.
Quick-fix tactic #2
According to researchers in Melbourne, chewing gum during a mildly stressful situation can relieve anxiety by 17 per cent and reduce stress by 16 per cent. It can also increase alertness by 19 per cent and improve overall performance by as much as 109 per cent. The reason isn’t yet clear, but the study’s authors say it may be because chewing increases blood flow to the brain.
Quick-fix tactic #3
Do some exercise.
“Physical exercise is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce tension and ‘spend’ the biochemical changes that are brought about by stress,” says Edelman. And researchers in the UK have proved it, finding people who exercise before heading into work or during their lunch break feel less stressed compared to the days they spend being sedentary.
Quick-fix tactic #4
Do something you enjoy.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but University of Cincinnati scientists have proven how doing something pleasurable reduces stress by inhibiting anxiety responses in the brain. Even better news is that the effects are long lasting, positively affecting stress levels for at least seven days. Edelman supports the idea and says, “Make a conscious effort to balance work and play. Engage in fun activities, including leisure, social activities, sports and interests. It’s a simple, yet effective, way to lift your mood and diffuse the effects of stress.”
Quick-fix tactic #5
Have a cup of tea and listen to music.
Last year, researchers from University College London revealed that the cortisol levels of black tea drinkers are typically 20 per cent lower than non-tea drinkers 50 minutes after a stressful event, indicating that a cuppa really is relaxing. And Japanese scientists say listening to music in the face of stress is also an effective tactic. Monitoring people as they underwent a stressful medical procedure, cortisol levels among the group that listened to music remained significantly lower compared to those who weren’t tuned in.
For more stress tips pick up the July issue of Good Health magazine or subscribe at magshop.co.nz.