Feeling a little stressed? Scientists have discovered five easy ways to chill out, just by using your senses. Here’s how to slurp, sniff, gawp, grope and head-bop your way to relaxation.
1. Listen to chill out tunes
A study by bath-time experts Radox has found the song “Weightless” by Marconi Union is the most relaxing song ever. Apparently our brainwaves and heart rates synchronise with the song’s 60 BPM rhythm. It’s a process called “entrainment” – where we reach a trance-like state of calm. Hummm.
But it’s not just music that chills you out. The sound of the human voice helps you relax too. Hearing someone speak over the phone lowers stress levels and boosts the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin. It turns out texting doesn’t have the same hug effect, so give your fingers a rest and talk to people.
2. Chomp on some chocolate
Dark chocolate is a wonderful thing. It’s a superfood packed with antioxidants and regulates the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes your metabolism – a two-prong attack to help you relax. Chocolate also releases beta endorphins (happy chemicals) in the brain. According to The De-Stress Diet, just 40g a day keeps you sweet.
To get even more outta your chocolate – keep your bar in the fridge for extra crunch. Chewing reduces cortisol levels in your saliva, enhancing your good mood. And wash the chocolate down with green tea – a source of l-theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger.
Don’t do chocolate? Try Mango. It contains the compound linalool which helps lower stress levels.
3. Look at awesome stuff
Boffins at the Stanford University have found that looking at something “awesome” – like the
Northern Lights, a huge building or beautiful sunset – helps you chill out and be happy.
Scientists discovered that awe-inspiring moments help you become more patient and less concerned with material things. But don’t worry if your office doesn’t overlook the Coliseum. Watching a video of epic stuff has a similar effect, so make Youtube your friend.
4. Hug it out
Psychologists have found that a kiss or cuddle lowers your blood pressure and makes you feel calmer. If you don’t have a hubby, petting an animal has the same de-stressing effect. Edinburgh’s Napier University recently latched onto the idea. They brought in border collies and golden retrievers to chill out exam-stressed students.
5. Have a nosey
You know when a smell takes you back to a long-forgotten memory? Smells stimulate receptors in your nose that connect to the emotions part of the brain. And smell scientists (yup, that’s their name) have that found that lavender, tea tree and jasmine have calming effects. If incense sticks ain’t your thing, smelling citrus helps you relax too. It triggers de-stress hormone norepinephrine.
At blu, we make sure our e-cigs – and flavours – look, feel, smell and taste great. Take the tour >
Phoning – University of Wisconsin-Madison study
Dark Chocolate – The De-Stress Diet by Anna Magee and Charlotte Watts
Cuddle – Edwin Riley, PHD, Stress Rx