Monday December 9, 2019

Spending Some Time with Any Animal or Pet Can Help Reduce Stress

Why cow? Any animal can help you remain stress free

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Pets give us the love and support we need to help cope with psychological conditions.

Not just the cow but spending some time with any animal or pet at home can keep you calm and relaxed, say doctors.

Reacting to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s comment that rubbing a cow, from the back towards the neck, can cure your blood pressure, Dr B.M. Doda, senior physician at Walia Nursing and Maternity Home in Delhi, said that any pet can calm you and, may be, keep your blood pressure in check.

“There is nothing special about cows as spending quality time with any animal will keep your stress-free,” Doda told IANS.

Several studies have suggested in the past that when we live in a constant state of fight-or-flight from ongoing stress at work and the frenetic pace of modern life, physical changes take their toll on our bodies, including raising our risk of heart disease and other dangerous conditions.

Animals can serve as a source of comfort and support. Contact with pets seems to counter this stress response by lowering stress hormones and heart rate.

According to the latest research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people who have a pet have healthier hearts, are homesick less often and make fewer visits to the doctor.

“Relations with pets tend to be less complicated than those with humans, and pets are often a source of great enjoyment. Pixabay

How do animals help? One study says that pets boost our oxytocin levels.

The “bonding hormone” enhances social skills, decreases blood pressure and heart rate, boosts immune function and raises tolerance for pain. It also lowers stress, anger and depression.

Twitter users, however, slammed Thakur’s other claim that she was a cancer patient and was cured after she consumed cow’s urine along with “panchgavya” mixed with ayurvedic herbs.

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“I’m a doctor too. And no, stroking a cow won’t relieve high blood pressure. And cancer? Certainly not. Believing in one’s culture isn’t about talking senselessly,” tweeted a Twitter user that goes by the name of @shreyaamishra07.

“No amount of belief can excuse the kind of unverified, non-scientific claims that Sadhvi Pragya is propagating as a cure for cancer,” tweeted @tapasya_s.

The crux of the matter is, when it comes to living life stress-free, keep a pet at home as you do not have to specially visit a gaushala for that. (IANS)

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Deep Sleep Can Reduce Higher Anxiety Levels

A Study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress

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Deep Sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety. Pixabay

Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops.

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 per cent rise in anxiety levels, researchers from the University of California said.

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganising connections in the brain,” said study senior author Professor Matthew Walker.

“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Walker added.

“Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress,” said study lead author Eti Ben Simon.

In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures, researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.

Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the state-trait anxiety inventory.

After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check, while the brain’s deeper emotional centres were overactive.

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Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is Deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops. Pixabay

After a full night of sleep, during which participants’ brain waves were measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave NREM sleep.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Simon said.

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Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants, the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.  (IANS)