7 unexpected things that can help you calm down

Original author: Stephanie Vozza
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In this article, Stephanie Vozza tells how you can stop worrying about something you ca n’t change if you enjoy chocolate and enjoy the aroma of grapefruit .

What keeps you awake at night? Economy? Disagreements in the government? Work? Healthcare? Ebola virus?
According to a Gallup poll in October 2014, Americans are worried about many things. But most of them are not subject to control, and the excitement only exacerbates the situation.

According to a study by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, anxiety can have long-term chronic medical consequences such as cardiovascular disease.

How do we stop getting nervous? Although physical exercise is usually prescribed to reduce anxiety, which is actually better than taking Xanax (the commercial name for Alprazolam's sedative) because sports trigger the release of good mood hormones - you still don’t have to sweat to calm your anxiety.

Here are seven alternative measures you can take to distract yourself from your problems:

1. Change your sleep time

Anyone who likes to stay awake until late should know that this increases inner anxiety. Researchers at Binghamton University in New York found that people who go to bed very late and sleep little are more likely to have negative thoughts than those who have a healthy sleep pattern. Those who do not get enough sleep tend to worry about the future, and again and again relive the events of the past. Such people are prone to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and compulsive disorder syndrome.

“A healthy, full sleep at the right time is an inexpensive and easy way to influence one’s condition for people with obsessive thoughts,” says one of the researchers, Jacob Nota. (We recommend reading a useful article onhow many hours should we sleep .)

2. Smell the grapefruit

Inhaling certain aromas reduces stress. As part of a study conducted at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, scientists tested the effect of pleasantly smelling essential oils by decomposing oil containers in a central healthcare facility. Oncology nurses, who often suffer from work-related stress, fatigue from compassion and burnout, reported a significant improvement in their condition, a decrease in tension, and anxiety.

One of the essential oils tested during the study was grapefruit. This smell refreshes and revitalizes, and also helps to enhance the feeling of energy in the body and happiness.

3. Breathe slowly

Deep breathing, also called yoga breathing, is known to reduce stress and anxiety. In his book Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-Being (Little, Brown & Company; 2013) (Spontaneous Happiness. A New Path to Emotional Well-Being (Little, Brown and Company, 2013)), Andrew Weil offers as a tool for calming and fight against bad mood using a technique that he calls “4-7-8 breathing.”

To start, exhale completely through the mouth, then inhale through the nose for four. Hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. It's not possible to breathe deeply and worry, Vale says. He recommends using the “4-7-8” breathing method at least twice a day or every time a tension is felt.

4. Eat Chocolate

While sweets can significantly increase blood sugar and cause serious harm to health, researchers have found that a little dark chocolate helps to alleviate anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, dark chocolate can help calm nerves. Participants who ate one and a half ounces of dark chocolate per day for two weeks reduced their levels of stress hormones. (We recommend reading a useful article on how to maximize energy from caffeine .)

5. Engage in forest therapy

Walking through the woods and enjoying the sounds of nature can ease stress. The term Shinrin-yoku, translated from Japanese, means "absorb the atmosphere of the forest", "take a forest bath." This practice helps relieve stress much more effectively than walking in an urban area.

“Studies have confirmed that spending time in the forest can reduce psychological stress, depressive symptoms and hostility and, at the same time, improve sleep, increase activity and make you feel full of life,” write Eva Selhoub and Alan Logan in your book Your Brain on Nature(Collins; 2013) (“Your brain is in nature” (Collins; 2013)). "Japanese researchers have found that 20 minutes of shinrin-yoku practice, compared with 20 minutes spent in an urban environment, change the blood flow of the brain as it does during relaxation."

6. Describe your worries on paper

Reducing the intensity of emotions with paper seems unthinkable, it seems that in this way passions flare up even more, but according to a study by the University of Chicago published in the journal Science, fixing your thoughts and emotions on paper can help to cope with them. Students who participated in this study were asked to write about their fears about the exam in order to check their anxiety level. Those who agreed to the experiment increased their exam results by almost one point.

“This may be a paradox, but the effect of the process of reflecting thoughts and emotions on paper can be compared to freeing the mind of fears,” says Xi'an Baylock, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, USA. “You’re kind of re-evaluating the situation, and it bothers you less, because you’ve already experienced and made sense.”

7. Engage in knitting

Occupying your hands with something, you are automatically distracted from disturbing thoughts. As part of a study conducted at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, volunteers watched a video of car crashes. Participants who were asked to type on the keyboard while watching the plots suffered less from memories of what they saw. However, verbal distractions , such as counting out loud, had no effect.

Researchers have found that by taking your hands, you impede the process of storing and encoding visual images. This explains why beading or knitting soothes us.

PS We recommend another article on the topic - How successful people cope with their toxic opponents .

Translation by Vyacheslav Davidenko, founder of MBA Consult

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