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10 Foods You Didn’t Know Can Chill You Out

10 Foods You Didn’t Know Can Chill You Out

Pretty much all of us are stressed out these days. Between increased work hours, family, money issues and homophobic jerks running Russia, it can be hard to relax. The good news is that what you put on your plate can help you feel more calm about the world: there are foods that reduce stress. So in the immortal words of Mr. Freeze…

    1. Black Tea

    Despite the fact that tea contains caffeine, a cup can actually help you to relax. I was ready to attribute this to tea being magical and able to fix anything, but it’s actually because it lowers your stress-hormone levels. In one study, participants were given either tea or a fake substitute and those who drank the real deal relaxed faster than those who didn’t. I’m of British heritage, so you don’t have to tell me to drink tea twice!

    2. Oranges

    Most of us know that vitamin C is good for us, particularly in regards to boosting our immune systems. However, it seems that its relaxation properties have been a closely kept secret. In fact, research has shown that large quantities of vitamin C can have a tranquilizing effect. Now that’s what I call stress relief.

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    In addition, oranges also contain vitamin B, which is known for combating stress.

    3. Milk

    Milk is high in essential nutrients, and can also effect our mood! For the record, I’m referring to ordinary milk, not the stuff from A Clockwork Orange. Milk contains iodine, which is essential for adequate thyroid function. This is incredibly important because your thyroid gland regulates the majority of your body’s functions, including your mood. In addition to this, the whey protein present in milk is said to alleviate anxiety and thus help you relax.

    Warm milk is also known for its calming and sleep-inducing effects; however, research has shown that this is almost entirely psychosomatic. Oh well, if it works, it works!

    4. Blueberries

    Ironically named, blueberries will actually help you to fight off the blues.

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    As previously mentioned, vitamin C is a great stress combatant. Blueberries also contain high volumes of the vitamin, which therefore makes them useful to fight stress. In fact, one study has shown that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their bloodstreams showed less signs of mental and physical stress when given challenges.

    5. Nutritional Yeast

    Alright, so this is a slightly ‘unique’ addition, but I promise it’s not as gross as the name suggests.

    Nutritional yeast contains vitamin B6, which helps to produce hormones that induce feelings of well-being. In addition, it contains vitamin B12, which helps with stress relief. Studies also suggest that various B vitamins help us ladies to calm down whilst suffering from PMS. I’m not sure I know how to respond to that.

    6. Brazil Nuts

    Delicious and NUTritious. (I apologize, that was uncalled for. I couldn’t help myself!)

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    Similar to milk, Brazil nuts can have an incredibly positive effect on your thyroid gland. This is because they contain a micro-nutrient called selenium that helps your body to function properly. The best part is that selenium is believed to have an almost instantaneous effect. That’s great news if you’re in a hurry to chill out.

      7. Avocado

      Can you really ever go wrong with avocado? The answer is, “No,” because it’s amazing. Avocados are full of vitamin C, vitamin B, folate, panothenic acid and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients are calming agents that will leave you feeling stress-free. The best part is that the fruit really does go with anything and therefore shouldn’t be restricted to salads. I have it in my morning smoothies and have made delicious ice cream out of it. I would also recommending trying avocado on toast with a drizzle of honey. Delectable!

      8. Fish

      Oily fish such as salmon and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to alleviate mild cases of depression and improve your mood. In addition, salmon also contains high quantities of vitamin B12, which helps your production of serotonin. This is one of the neurotransmitters that aids in feelings of well-being and will therefore help you to relax.

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      If you’re not a fan of fish, you can still get the same benefits from fish oil tablets.

      9. Spinach

      Popeye was right on the money with this one. Leafy greens such as spinach contain large quantities of folic acid, which can fight depression and alleviate feelings of fatigue. Furthermore, spinach also contains magnesium, which helps to maintain adequate levels of our old friend serotonin in your system. As we learned previously, this will assist you in chilling out.

      10. Dark Chocolate

      I swear I’m not just using this as a justification to indulge.

      Dark chocolate contains a group of chemicals called N-acylethanolamines that stimulate the channels to your brain. This results in them releasing some of those sweet, sweet endorphins that makes us feel so good. In addition to this, dark chocolate has been known to reduce anxiety in people who are prone to it. So go ahead and have some chocolate—just make sure it’s the dark variety and in a modest amount.

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      Tegan Jones

      Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

      1. Understand Yourself Better

      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

      3. Become Aware of What Matters

      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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      4. Boost Creativity

      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

      6. Process Life Experiences

      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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      7. Stress Relief

      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

      8. Provide Direction

      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

      9. Solve Problems

      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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      10. Find Relief From Fighting

      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

      11. Find Meaning in Life

      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

      14. Let the Past Go

      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

      15. Allow Freedom

      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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      16. Enhance Your Career

      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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