Attention worriers, expressive writing cools brain on stressful tasks; read the tips too!
Source : NewsBharatiDate : 18-Sep-2017
New Delhi, September 18: Chronic worries: Simply writing about your feelings may help you perform a stressful task more efficiently, said a Michigan State University study that measured participants’ brain activity. The research published online in the journal Psychophysiology provides the first neural evidence for the benefits of expressive writing, said lead author Hans Schroder.
“Worrying takes up cognitive resources; it’s kind of like people who struggle with worry are constantly multitasking — they are doing one task and trying to monitor and suppress their worries at the same time,” Schroder said. “Our findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more efficient,” he further added.
Study: College students identified as chronically anxious through a validated screening measure completed a computer-based “flanker task” that measured their response accuracy and reaction times. Before the task, about half of the participants wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings about the upcoming task for eight minutes; the other half, in the control condition, wrote about what they did the day before.
While the two groups performed at about the same level for speed and accuracy, the expressive-writing group performed the flanker task more efficiently, meaning they used fewer brain resources, measured with electroencephalography, or EEG, in the process.
Conclusion: It has been quite evident in the previous research studies that expressive writing about one’s feelings could lower down their depression or anxiety. However, this research by Schroder also surprisingly points out that it could also help the participants to prepare for stressful tasks in future.
Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get “burned out” over, their worried minds working harder and hotter. Expressive writing takes the edge off their brains so they can perform the task with a ‘cooler head’.
While expressing your deepest thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper may help you cope with stress better, here are some foods that may help too.
1.Oats: A bowl of oats and some fresh fruits for breakfast may keep your mood swings in place. Oat meal boosts positive energy as it is considered to be a serotonin enhancer, which is known as the happiness hormone.
2.Lentils: Lentils are packed with all types of Vitamin B, which stimulates the brain and keeps you happy and charged. It also helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. Lentils also stabilize your blood sugar levels and fire-up your energy levels.
3.Banana: Bananas are rich in Vitamin C which is a great stress-fighting nutrient. It helps repair cell damage caused due to stress. Also, the potassium that it contains helps in maintaining healthy heart muscles
4.Yogurt: Yogurt is packed with calcium which helps beat stress. Experts have linked the 'good bacteria' found in yogurt to kill anxiety and depression.
5.Brahmi: Brahmi, the ayurvedic herb has potent anti-anxiety properties. It is known to increase the levels of serotonin - a brain chemical that helps to promote relaxation. It has a unique ability to improve cognitive function as well as helps the body cope with stress. It induces a sense of peace and soothes restlessness. It serves as a mild sedative, but instead of dulling the mind it enhances mental clarity and focus. Heat 1/2 cup of milk or water and 1/2 tsp of brahmi powder for about 3 minutes. Let the mixture infuse for 2-3 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey if required.