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Category: Health

Could This Video Lower Your Stress In 60 Seconds?

Could This Video Lower Your Stress In 60 Seconds?

The short answer according to recent research is yes.

Having animals around you has been known for many years to lower stress.  However, researchers wanted to know if just watching videos of animals would lower stress as well.

So they assembled volunteers and put them into three groups.

One group watched videos of animals.  Another group watched a soap opera and a final group watched a blank screen.  Each group was then exposed to a stressor – reading aloud to an audience.

The groups that watched a soap opera or a blank screen had high levels of stress.  The group that watched the animal videos appears to be much less stressed by the experience of reading aloud.

So researchers concluded “that videotapes of certain animals can reduce cardiovascular responses to psychological stress and may help to buffer viewers from anxiety…”

So if you want to prevent stress in just 60 seconds find a cute video of an animal on Youtube and just enjoy.

What do you think of this research?  Will you try this idea today?  Leave me a comment below.

How Being Negative Can Get You To The Gym

How Being Negative Can Get You To The Gym

Most self-help gurus will tell you that if you want to motivate yourself to do something focus on all the benefits you’ll gain from taking action.  However, if you’re procrastinating current research suggests that a very different approach may be even more helpful.  A specific kind of negative thinking and feeling may be much more motivating than a positive feeling.

Researchers assembled 229 people with gym memberships and asked half of them to think about how much they might regret not going to the gym.  The other group was asked how much they intended to go to the gym.

They then measured how much both groups exercised after two weeks.

The group that was asked how much they would regret not exercising exercised much more than the other group.

Why might this be?

Some researchers believe that anticipated regret may be more powerful than actual regrets. And I think that may be part of the reason anticipated regrets are such powerful motivators.

So next time you are hesitating about starting an important task – whether it’s going to the gym, writing an article or getting out of bed – think of how you’ll regret NOT taking action and you just may find yourself ready to get started.

British Journal of Social Psychology 2003 Dec;42(Pt 4):495-511.
Acting on intentions: the role of anticipated regret.  Abraham C, Sheeran P.

How A Sexy Poster Can Increase Your Will Power

How A Sexy Poster Can Increase Your Will Power

There’s a whole area of study in psychology called priming.  It’s the study of how things that are often outside our awareness can influence our behavior without our knowing it.

Well, in one study of priming researchers wanted to know if just seeing the right kind of image could cause participants to think of dieting and be more resistant to “unhealthy” food items.

So they got together 4 groups of women but I’ll only discuss the two groups that mattered.  One group entered a room with three nature photos on the walls and a soda they could choose to drink or not

A second group entered the same room with three photos of fit females.

The women in both groups were asked to estimate the amount of calories in the soda.

Those who saw the pictures fit females estimated the number of calories in the soda to be much higher than those who saw the nature photos.

This is what psychologists call “counteractive construal.”  It’s a process that increases your resistance to temptation.

So as a result, the women who saw the fit female posters had greater resistance to drinking the soda.

How can you use this information to help yourself?

When trying to achieve a goal, put visual reminders of the result you want to achieve when in places you would be tempted to violate your plans.

If you want to eat healthier, put images of healthy people on the fridge (or any place else that has snacks).  If you’re a student who needs motivation to study, put pictures of people in graduation uniforms near your desk.

What kinds of pictures will you use to prime yourself to resist temptation so you can achieve your goals?  Tell me in the comments below.

Reference to study mentioned above:

Counteractive Construal in Consumer Goal Pursuit

Ying Zhang, Szu‐chi Huang, and Susan M. Broniarczyk.  Journal of Consumer Research. Volume 37, Issue 1, Page 129–142, Jun 2010

Does Kissing Lower Cholesterol?

Does Kissing Lower Cholesterol?

Researchers wanted to know the answer to this question.  So they brought together a diverse group of 52 adults in committed relationships.  Half of this group was instructed to kiss more often for a full six weeks, the other half was not.

After six weeks each person had their blood cholesterol measured and took a questionnaire.  Each member of the “increased kissing” group had their cholesterol go down.  The control group experienced no change.

It’s also interesting to note that there were other positive side-effects of increased kissing.  One is that those who kissed more tended to exercise more, experience less conflict in their relationships and improved communication.

So kissing more often has many benefits besides just feeling good.

But why does kissing lower cholesterol?

Researchers determined through a special kind of analysis called ANCOVA that the increased exercise, reduced conflict and improved communication did not cause the change in cholesterol.

Only stress correlated perfectly with the reduction in cholesterol for each participant.

This is a finding similar to that of other studies showing that a reduction in stress leads to a reduction in cholesterol.

So if you want to lower your cholesterol, start kissing more often.  Or if you know someone that needs to keep their hearth healthy, let them know about this study.  Unlike exercise, this is a commitment that anyone with a partner would enjoy keeping.  And best of all there are no negative side effects.

What do you think of this study?  Please leave a comment below.

Reference to study above:

Floyd, K. , Boren, J. P., Hannawa, A. F., Hesse, C. , McEwan, B. L. and Veksler, A. E. , 2008-11-21 “Kissing in Marital and Cohabiting Relationships: Effects on Blood Lipids, Stress, and Relationship Satisfaction” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NCA 94th Annual Convention, TBA, San Diego, CA Online <PDF>. 2010-06-06 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p246054_index.html