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Ancy K Sunny
Ancy K Sunny

MIND MATTERS

The fun part of beating stress

Stress has evolved into an integral and inevitable part of our lives. It is stress that looms over us from the moment we step out of bed, rush through the morning chores, drive our car, meet office targets, or help with our kid's school assignment. With changing ways of life, stress, too, has found newer dimensions and we have found new reasons to be stressful. While a quick cup of coffee, a power nap, a walk, a deep breath or an aromatic massage shall always be our favourite stress busting techniques, people are looking at other creative and fun ways to beat stress.

The fun part of beating stress

1. Colour away stress: How good did it feel as a child to colour those flowers, animals and patterns with vivid colour pencils, crayons and sketch pens of your choice. Haven't we seen little ones, oblivious of the surroundings, engrossed in their colouring books, all focussed on not letting the colour go out of the borders of the design? This is exactly the science behind the new stress busting trend—colouring books for adults. With intricate symmetric patterns and geometric designs, these colouring books are becoming a major hit because of its therapeutic effects on the mind to reduce anxiety and bring about more mindfulness. Scientists say colouring repetitive patterns, just like meditation, has the potential to switch off our brains and help us focus only on the moment, thus pushing away all those free-flowing stressful thoughts. When you colour, you have to focus on a shape, concentrate on the edges, and pick a colour. All these involve a healthy coordination of both parts of the cerebral hemisphere as well. So, what you waiting for? Grab yourself a set of colour pencils and get colouring. And if you want to do it the smart way, there are adult colouring apps, too.

2. Play it off: Online games, if played within limits, can be great stress busters. Some of these games which involve popping balloons, rearing cattle or growing your own organic carrots, let you take your mind off greater everyday hassles for a while. The purpose of most of these online games is to transport you to an alternate universe and let you engage in it for a while—away from real life troubles and stressful responsibilities. Therapists suggest a few minutes of gaming for professionals who work for long hours. Even when it comes to gaming, you need to strike a balance. And so, it is advisable to engage in puzzles and quizzes as a means to unwind your mind. Thoughtful games such as puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, or even a game of scrabble with friends can help you focus and boost brain stimulation, as well.

3. Whistle it away: Whistling in itself is an art. Not the part where you are tempted to whistle at a lady who appeals to you on the road, but the part where you can sustain a whistle probably in tune with a song of your choice. And while you put all your senses and effort into it, you are actually shutting out those lingering thoughts of stress. Haven't you noticed that while you are whistling, you are not worrying? Whistle away to the tunes of those old forgotten melodies, or even your once favourite nursery rhyme, or join a whistling club if you want to master the skill. Whistling and singing are said to produce endorphins that naturally reduce stress and lift your mood. It, however, may sound annoying to the colleague in the office cubicle next to you. But hey, you can whistle slowly, or maybe try it in the loo!

The fun part of beating stress

4. Calm your nerves: For those who find it difficult to focus, meditation can be frustrating and may turn out to be just another source for stress. How many of us can actually focus on our breath, shut out the outside world and enter into that state of thoughtlessness. When you are almost there, a car honk or door shut disturbs you, or another thought comes knocking. To fix this, scientists have been trying to develop technologies that can induce the same brainwave situation created by meditation. One of the most popular auditory technology that is being increasingly used for this is known as binaural beats. Binaural beats claim to induce the same mind state as meditation, and quickly, too. When two tones with slightly different frequencies are played through each one of your ears, the brain registers a third tone at the difference of the two frequencies. This kind of auditory illusion is known as binaural beat. Binaural beat generators can be downloaded online or are available on apps. So, if you belong to the league of people who are restless or can't tame your mental chatter to meditate, plug in your earphones, listen and relax.

5. Write it off: Keeping a diary or a journal is more than just about documenting your feelings. It is about revisiting experiences, recording your thoughts and talking out to yourself about how you really felt in a particular situation. Research has showed that people who actually put pen to paper to let out their emotions through expressive writing experience greater reduction in anxiety and stress. To improve health and decrease stress, journal entries should include two things: First, write what happened and second, write your feelings about what happened, what you feel and why you feel it. Don't hold back! Write continually with no censoring, until you feel you get it all out. For the digital beings out there who find it better to type it out on the keyboard, there are even websites that allow people to journal privately online.

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