How to Reduce Stress? 10 Scientifically Proven Tips
While the role of stress is originally to help us escape dangerous situations, the stress reactions we trigger today in the face of traffic jams, train delays and other conflicts with the boss. However, it does not help us solve the problem but contributes to the development of chronic diseases, hypertension, and depression. Here is what the science says about ways to reduce stress.
10 scientifically Proven Tips To Reduce Stress
Tip # 1: Eat Omega-3s
It has long been known that fish oil plays a protective role against cardiovascular disease. Fish oil mainly contains omega-3 fatty acids.
It was in 2013 that researchers at Michigan Technological University showed that this protective role was because fish oil could counteract the effects of stress on the heart.
Indeed, study participants who consumed fish oil supplements for several weeks showed a better stress response.
On the other hand, studying 22 healthy people with high LDL cholesterol (also known as “bad cholesterol”), for 3 periods of 6 weeks. The researchers at Penn State University found that including walnuts and walnut oil (rich in omega-3s) in their diet reduced blood pressure in response to stress.
How to reduce your stress?
Tip # 2: Make Friends
In humans and animals, stress is often associated with poor health and an increased risk of death. But did you know that the negative effects of stress can be alleviated by simple support from loved ones?
Although the mechanism remains unknown, a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany, has investigated how chimpanzees cope with stressful and non-stressful situations with or without loved ones.
To do this, they measured the stress rate of chimpanzees during episodes of group conflict, moments of rest and during the toilet.
They found that support from a loved one significantly reduced stress levels, especially in conflict situations.
Another study, this time by researchers at the University of Michigan, found that feeling emotionally close to someone increases progesterone levels, leading to reduced stress and anxiety.
But be careful; we are talking about “real friends”, because on the other hand, having too many Facebook friends is a source of stress, according to a Scottish study!
Tip # 3: Laugh
Now that you’ve made some new friends laugh with them!
Indeed, numerous studies have shown that humor and laughter are excellent for your health and are a good antidote against stress.
According to a 2008 study, even the anticipation of a comedy situation reduced our levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), epinephrine (or adrenaline), and dopamine by 39, 70, and 38%, respectively.
Also, consult our Laughter therapy sheet to learn about all the health benefits of laughter.
Tip # 4: Try Your Hand at Art
No matter how good you are or not, give time to art!
According to the latest study by researchers at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, engaging in artistic activity can significantly reduce stress.
To complete their study, the researchers asked 39 adults between the ages of 18 – 59, with or without artistic knowledge or experience, to participate in a 45-minute art activity. The cortisol level was raised before and after the session.
Markers, paper, clay and collage materials were made available to participants. An art therapist was present during the activity to help participants when needed, but without giving them any directions.
After the experiment, the researchers found that 75% of participants had lower cortisol levels than before the session, whether they had artistic experience.
Tip # 5: Meditation
We talk about it more and more; meditation positively affects stress.
According to a new research study by a team from the University of California, meditation is even more effective in overcoming stress than the holidays!
In another study, a group of students was asked to take tests requiring concentration.
Between tests, part of the group completed five days of meditation with a technique called integrative body-mind training (IBMT).
Result: the group that followed the meditation course showed better concentration and better stress regulation after the meditation session.
This study also shows that it is never too late to get into meditation because even a 5 day course just before a stressful episode has positive effects!
Tip # 6: Try Yoga
The link between yoga and stress is probably the most recognized.
And indeed, according to the results of open trials in healthy subjects, yoga positively influences levels of anxiety, stress and general well-being.
An article published in Medical Hypotheses also highlighted the fact that yoga could be helpful in the treatment of patients suffering from stress related to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Tip # 7: Eat Chocolate
Good news for foodies!
A clinical trial published in the ACS Journal of Proteome Research found that consuming about 40 grams of dark chocolate per day for two weeks would lower stress hormone levels in people with high stress.
Tip # 8: Get Closer to Nature
We have all already had the experience of feeling more relaxed in nature, whether in the forest or at the beach.
Moreover, it has been proven that blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, depression, aggressiveness and stress levels decrease in a natural environment compared to an urban environment.
An experiment carried out in the Netherlands sought to show the benefits of outdoor activity on stress. To do this, the researchers subjected the participants to intense stress, then allowed them to rest for half an hour by reading a book or gardening.
Cortisol levels were measured before and after the rest period.
The result: while both activities reduced cortisol levels, the decrease was clearly greater with gardening.
Tip # 9: Stop Checking Your Emails
According to a study presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Computer-Human Interaction Conference in Austin, Texas. They confirm that staying away from business email significantly reduces stress and allows employees to concentrate better.
To conduct this study, heart rate monitors were installed on the computers of company employees. Some can look at their mailbox as usual, while others were deprived of it.
After the study, everyone who only checked their emails at set times reported feeling more able to do their jobs. It happened because they were less stressed and more focused on their task. Their heart rate was also lower.
According to Gloria Mark, co-director of the study, you feel less stressed when you stop constantly checking your emails. It happens because you only have one thing to deal with at a time.
Tip # 10: Listen to Music
We have all been able to have this experience: listening to music de-stresses us! Whether it’s a rhythmic song in the SUV on the way home from a stressful work day or a relaxing album while taking a bath.
Listening to music has been shown to be beneficial for patients suffering from the stress and anxiety associated with heart disease.
Other studies have also shown that music therapy can reduce stress in pregnant women and in patients with respiratory support.
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