New York, June 22 (IANS) When romantic couples blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for their stress, they were happier in their relationships, relationship experts have found.The Covid-19 pandemic led to many couples suddenly working from home, spending more time together, trying to homeschool children, dealing with job losses and dealing with the fear and anxiety of a quickly spreading deadly virus.The team from the University of Texas at Austin, US, analysed data collected from 191 participants during the early weeks of the pandemic and again seven months later.They found that although people were generally less happy in their relationship when they were experiencing more stress, the harmful effects of stress were weaker among those individuals who blamed the pandemic for their stress.The researchers initially thought that the protective effects of blaming the pandemic might fade over time, but that was not the case."Even though people have been under a lot of stress for a long time, the pandemic has continued to be a major headline in the news, which may keep it in people's awareness -- making it easier to keep blaming the pandemic and to reduce stress spillover by blaming the pandemic," said Lisa Neff, Associate Professor of human development and family sciences at the varsity.Previous research has shown that romantic partners tend to be more critical toward each other when experiencing common stress -- what researchers call stress spillover -- but major events such as natural disasters are not always associated with poor relationship functioning.Because these significant stressors are more noticeable than routine situations, people may be more aware that stress is affecting them and spilling over into the relationship, said researchers."Because of this awareness, when major stressors occur, romantic partners may be less likely to blame each other for their problems and more likely to blame the stressor, which may reduce the harmful effects of stress on the relationship," Neff said."Some people come together and they say, 'This is a stressful situation and we're going to tackle this together, and we're not going to blame each other for things that are hard or difficult,'" added Marci Gleason, Associate Professor of human development and family sciences at UT Austin.--IANSrvt/sdr/
A healthy diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, listening to music, or engaging in a hobby are all known stress-reduction strategies. Vitamins are an essential component in your quest for perfect glowing skin, as well as numerous other health benefits. It boosts the immune system and increases the body's ability to withstand stressful situations. Dietician Vidhi Chawla lists down a few vitamin-rich food items to include in our diet:
Oranges, which are high in vitamin C, can help to lower stress hormones and strengthen the immune system. According to research on high blood pressure patients, increasing your Vitamin C intake can lower your blood pressure and levels of cortisol, or stress hormone.
Spinach is a nutritious leafy green vegetable high in calcium, B-vitamins, iron, and antioxidants. One of the foods that can help with anxiety is spinach. Magnesium is found in 157 mg per cup of spinach, which is 40 per cent of your daily requirement. In fact, a lack of magnesium can cause headaches, fatigue, and stress-related symptoms. They are low in carbs, can be used as part of a weight-loss diet, and are beneficial to people with high blood pressure.
Because of their high nutrient content, eggs are often referred to as nature's multivitamin. One of the few naturally occurring sources of vitamin D is whole eggs. Whole eggs are high in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, all of which are required for a healthy stress response. Whole eggs are especially high in choline, a nutrient found in high concentrations in only a few foods. Choline has been shown to be beneficial to brain health and may protect against stress.
Nuts are high in nutrients, including B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. B vitamins are an essential part of a healthy diet and can help with stress reduction. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts may even aid in the reduction of blood pressure. Nuts and seeds are also high in magnesium, which is beneficial because magnesium has been linked to improved anxiety management.
B vitamins are necessary for the health of our nerves and brain cells, and a B vitamin deficiency may cause anxiety. Avocados are high in B vitamins, which are known to help with stress relief. They're also high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, both of which help to keep blood pressure down.
Blueberries may appear small, but they are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, making them effective stress relievers. Our bodies require vitamin C and antioxidants to repair and protect cells when we are stressed. While blueberries are delicious on their own (try freezing them for a cold berry snack), there's no better way to boost the nutrition in a serving of yoghurt or high-fibre cereal than to add them to it.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that can help you cope with physical and mental stress. Here's a unique way to incorporate ashwagandha into your diet. Take a 1 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder in ghee and mix in some date sugar, honey, jaggery, or coconut sugar (any one of these sweetening ingredients). Consume the mixture approximately 20 minutes before breakfast or later in the day with a cup of milk. If stress is making it difficult to sleep, it is best to take ashwagandha at night as it can help induce sleep. Ashwagandha has also been linked to lower cortisol levels in the morning.
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While it may sound weird to tell people with depression to go outside and garden, there is a considerable amount of clinical evidence which suggests that spending time with plants improves our mental health, particularly depression. Even spending time with indoor plants works wonders to alleviate both mental and physical stress in people of all ages.
Vinayak Garg, Founder, Lazy Gardener says: "Many researchers have found that gardening or ï¿½green care' stimulates our bodies' natural development of happy chemicals, which may help keep depression and anxiety at bay, with unexpectedly amazing results. Even during this pandemic, each nation is battling a war where the enemy is not visible nor are the weapons. In these times, along with other safety measures, why not turn to the potential benefits of gardening as a way to help in the mental and physical war against coronavirus."
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Here are some interesting and the creative way to fight depression and anxiety, suggested by Garg.
Getting Your Hands Dirty!
Getting your hands dirty in the garden boosts your serotonin levels, according to studies. Serotonin is a happy chemical that also serves as a natural antidepressant and immune system booster, lack of which is responsible for depression. When you come in contact with soil, a particular soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, causes serotonin to be released in our brain, making us feel better and happier from within. At the very least, now we understand why people prefer to garden without gloves and always enjoy the sensation of getting their hands into the dirt and compost heap.
De-Stress Therapy at Your Doorstep
Gardening is an awesome diversion from our increasingly technologically driven lives. Spending time gardening and enjoying nature can help us mentally de-stress by keeping us involved. When you directly contribute to the nurturing of the buds and witness the plants grow gradually, believe me, your happiness and contentment will know no boundaries and you'll keep coming back to it. This is a small yet a very powerful exercise to even boost your self-esteem, leaving no space for stress at all.
Building Your Creativity
How about simply finding out how to keep those garden pests away and improving soil quality to keep the garden healthy? How about deciding what kind and colour of a pot will suit your favourite plant the best? Get yourself into it once and this green care will take care of your positivity, creativity, mood upliftment, skill building, and ultimately help you fight depression naturally and gradually.
Building Your Strength
Working in the garden improves dexterity and strength. Digging, raking, and mowing are especially calorie-dense activities and the aerobic exercise involved will easily burn the same amount of calories as a gym workout. During gardening, physical exercise is combined with social contact. You get exposed to nature and sunlight. Sunlight works two way on your body: reduces blood pressure while also increasing vitamin D levels, and the fruits and vegetables grown have a positive effect on the diet. Sounds healthier right?
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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has struck both people's mental health and physical health, with necessary protocols like social distancing and restricted mobility making the average Indian feel alienated and low-spirited.
In a country that already grappled with silent mental health issues pre-pandemic, the current Covid-19 situation has further exacerbated stress and anxiety at an unprecedented scale, reaching all strata and ages.
Ayurvedic expert and founder of Vedas Cure, Vikas Chawla, shares that people may experience a wide variety of psychological effects as a result of infectious outbreaks.
He says: "Individually, new psychological symptoms in people without mental illness may precipitate or intensify the condition of someone with pre-existing mental illness, causing anxiety to their caregivers. Regardless of their exposure to the virus, one can constantly feel fear, anxiety and helplessness about being sick, which may lead to mental breakdowns and poor mental health."
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"The pandemic has severely affected the economy of our country. Many industries such as hospitality, tourism, education and entertainment are close to or have shut down. Due to this many people have either lost their jobs or their remuneration has been cut down by as much as 50 per cent. Such kinds of loss of jobs and/or income has also put people under a lot of stress and mental pressure," says Chawla.
Economic fluctuations, unemployment, increased competition, and unattainable high expectations contribute to a rise in psychological and psychosomatic disorders such as frustration, anxiety, depression, phobias, and personality changes. Stress is said to be responsible for nearly 75 per cent of all diseases. And if not diagnosed and treated promptly, they may lead to extreme depression, insomnia, sleep disorders, migraines, and headaches, among other issues, he adds.
According to him, Ayurveda has effective ways of helping an individual to deal with stress and anxiety. Hundreds of medicinal plants with immune modulator, anti-oxidant, and memory-enhancing properties are available in Ayurveda. Brahmi, ashwagandha, bhringraj, tulsi, ghee, and natural herbs can help relax the mind and address most of these disorders, he opines.
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"It is important to resolve and handle certain concerns naturally in order to live a happier life. A well-known memory-booster, Brahmi is an angel in disguise for your mental well-being, overall. It has a relaxing, anti-stress effect on the central nervous system. Its frequent intake will help you combat anxiety by calming you down."
He further adds,"Bhringraj can detoxify your body, encourage oxygen supply to your brain, and make your brain healthier and stronger, helping it to fend off stress and handle its effects better when ingested orally in the form of Bhringraj herbal teas and powder dissolved in water. Ashwagandha has a long list of health benefits, including improved endurance, immunity, decreased inflammation, and defense against cognitive and neurological disorders. It can also assist you in managing and reducing anxiety. This herb's extract has soothing properties and encourages anti-stress adaptogenic activity in the brain."
Due to the existence of anti-oxidants that can help reduce oxidative stress and free radicals generated in the body due to stress and anxiety, Ayurveda also recommends consuming tulsi as a preventive measure and a remedy to combat stress and anxiety.
"Slow massage with certain essential oils helps with migraines, insomnia, and depression. A variety of essential oils and other herbal formulations are available in the market by various brands, including ours, which have proven to be very effective. A quick head massage with Lavender essential oil particularly is highly recommended before going to bed as it encourages immediate relaxation and sleep," Chawla concludes.
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New York, June 5 (IANS) The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant detrimental impact on adolescents' mental health, especially in girls, finds a new study that included 59,000 participants.The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, found that negative mental health outcomes were disproportionately reported by girls and older adolescents (13-18-year-olds), compared to same-age peers before the pandemic.At the same time, it revealed a decline in cigarette smoking, e-cigarette usage and alcohol intoxication among 15-18-year-old adolescents during the pandemic."The decrease observed in substance use during the pandemic may be an unintended benefit of the isolation that so many adolescents have endured during quarantine," said researcher John Allegrante from the Columbia University in the US.Previous studies of adolescents during Covid-19 found evidence of increased mental health problems and certain types of substance use that had been rising before the pandemic.This study, however, compares current data with several pre-pandemic time points, which enabled the researchers to separate the effect of Covid-19 from other recent, downward trends in adolescent mental health.According to the researchers, prior studies have not been designed to determine whether clinically relevant levels of depression -- as opposed to self-reported depressive symptoms -- and substance use have increased during the pandemic.The study "differs in methodology from previous studies in that it tracked the population-based prevalence of mental health outcomes and substance use over several years to better understand the potential effects of Covid-19 from recent upward trends in adolescent mental health problems, the team said.--IANSvc/in
London, May 31 (IANS) The Covid-19 pandemic has not only hit physical health and the economy but has also impacted mental health with the possibility of increased rates of suicide, according to a study.Led by a team of researchers at Swansea University, Cardiff University, and the NHS in Wales, the study probed exactly which Covid-related stressors were most likely to trigger suicidal thoughts and behaviours.The survey was conducted on more than 12,000 people, which asked volunteers to share their experiences during the first UK lockdown.The results, published in the journal Archives of Suicide Research, show that several stressors such as social isolation, domestic abuse, relationship problems, redundancy, and financial problems were strongly linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.However, not everyone enduring these issues reported having suicidal thoughts. Those individuals with high levels of resilience and hope for the future were less affected by these pressures."We can use these findings to target which stressors are the most toxic in terms of driving people towards thoughts of suicide. While some of these may ease as we come out of lockdown, others may persist well into the future," said Professor Nicola Gray, from Swansea University."Many of these stressors are difficult to avoid, so we also need to instill hope for the future in our communities to help people get through these difficult times," added Professor Robert Snowden from Cardiff University.The researchers also discovered the important role that hope for the future can play -- along with individuals' levels of resilience -- when it comes to coping with these stressors."People's responses to a traumatic crisis do not follow a simple path of depression then recovery. It is currently unclear as to whether people simply have got worse as the crisis has continued or whether they are becoming more immune to the situation and are developing increased resilience. Only by understanding this can we be in a position to make an effective response and help people who might be suffering," said James Knowles, from Swansea University.--IANSrvt/in