According to a recent study, parents feel stressed up to six times a day, thanks to the needs of small children. It is hardly a surprising statistic. However, increasing scientific evidence also shows that it could help us pull a leaf out of children's books.
Believe it or not, it is claimed that climbing, singing and building houses outside of Lego are effective in relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults.
The news comes just in time for the brand new range of Lego – Forma – which should hit the market before Christmas. Can plastic blocks really help combat the ever-growing problem of stress and mental illness? Or is it just smart marketing?
Brain Teaser: compilation of one of the new Lego Forma adult testing models
HOW SERIOUS GAMES CREATE BETTER UNDERSTANDING
Lego markets their adult kits to escape the pressures of everyday life. "Building with Lego bricks reduces stress and improves well-being. It's a zen in a brick, "they claim in a new ad.
Lego has obviously identified two important modern trends: First, the desire for pastime that allows us to use our hands and imagination – an obvious backlash against life dominated by smartphones and computers. Given that a surgeon complained last week that his students' dexterity is over-reliant on technology, this can only be good news.
On the other hand, we are looking for ways to reduce stress and anxiety: something we can do to distract ourselves from our everyday pursuits.
Could this really play with Lego? It could actually be short-term. In a study released earlier this year, Taiwanese researchers asked a group of staff to participate in a "Lego-based workshop to reduce stress in the workplace."
The participants in the study completed psychological questionnaires on mood and depression before and after these "serious game" sessions.
For over two hours, they were encouraged to use their ideas to build things with Lego and then what they had built to tell stories.
The visit to the workshop did not reduce the number of depressions, but had a direct impact on the numerous anxiety states.
This is part of a much larger, more serious game movement: playfully solving problems turns creative meetings into games. Creating an entertaining environment where people can share ideas makes them feel less "judgmental" and more likely to volunteer ideas. It is hoped that the kick-off effect will improve productivity and reduce stress.
WHY DO NOT GO?
If you want more power than Lego – something to build muscle and reduce stress – what about indoor bouldering? This is like indoor climbing that is done on low walls without safety ropes.
A recent study recruited 100 people suffering from depression and arbitrarily divided them into two groups. One group was asked to do bouldering for three weeks a week for eight weeks, while the other acted as a control. In the end, the boulderers reported impressive mood improvements with a strong reduction in depression levels.
One of the researchers, Eva-Maria Steizer of the University of Arizona, herself an avid climber, said, "The great thing about bouldering is that you have to be attentive and focused on the moment. You have no room to deal with things in your life – you need to focus on not falling. "
WHAT ABOUT US, TO GIVE A SONG?
The great thing about singing, especially when singing with other people, is that it is sociable and requires a surprising amount of mental concentration and energy. As I noted recently, it can also cause your brain to release "sentient poison" released chemicals called endocannabinoids.
These chemicals, which have been recently identified, are linked to the drug cannabis, but are naturally released by your body in response to various stimuli.
I recently attended an experiment with Dr. Ing. Saoirse O'Sullivan from Nottingham University participated. We recruited nine volunteers and got them to try out three different activities: cycling, dancing and singing.
We had questionnaires filled out and took blood samples before and after each activity to see which had the greatest impact on their endocannabinoid levels.
Lego markets their adult kits to escape the pressures of everyday life (Stock image)
Cycling increased her endocannabinoid levels by an impressive 19 percent. The dance went a little better and increased its endocannabinoids by 21 percent. The clear winner, however, was singing, which increased average endocannabinoid levels by 42 percent, twice as much as the others. It also had the biggest impact on the mood.
… AND MAKE SURE YOU TAKE TIME TO DO NOTHING
I have found that one of the best ways to reduce stress is to practice mindfulness, the opposite of all the above activities. It's about doing nothing.
Mindfulness meant training for me to be more active at the moment than constantly thinking about my problems – what I would do later or should have done earlier.
The core of the entire exercise is sitting quietly, focusing on breathing, and the way the body feels at that moment. It's a bit like meditation. You can join a mindfulness course or download an app like Headspace that will guide you through the process.
You can also take a look at See, Love, Be, a new book by Tim Stead, who trained at the Oxford Mindfulness Center. In addition to an eight-week audio guide, the book contains many tips on how to make your everyday life more attentive: simple things like pausing over a cup of coffee to really enjoy the flavors; or go into the garden and just sit there for a while and absorb the colors and patterns.
Ask your doctor Mosley: Your questions have been answered
I have no problem staying 5: 2 – just find it. But I had to give it up after every attempt because I always have some cold symptoms. I am a woman in my 60s, with about two stones to lose, but otherwise in good health.
When you reduce your calories, a process called autophagy begins. This is the way the body makes spring cleaning by removing old and damaged cells and replacing them with new ones.
One of the types of cells that can be cleared during fasting is the immune system's white cells, which are used to fight infections.
Normally, they will bounce back stronger than before, as soon as you start eating normally. For anyone, like you, who may feel sick in a 5: 2 attempt, I would recommend including probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut in the diet plans that can boost the immune system by feeding your friendly gut bacteria.
I would also take care to wash your hands regularly as it is one of the main types of cold and flu viruses entering the body.