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New Research Says That Pets, Music And Nature Can Help Relieve Stress

Stress is inevitable! It can come from any event or thoughts and make you feel nervous, frustrated, or angry. Sometimes, it can be positive as it helps in preparing a person to face danger and fight problems. Many people prefer natural ways to calm their mind down while others opt for medications as a stress reliever. These ways are effective to some limit but recently, researchers have found new solutions to deal with stress. Read on.

The Paws Therapy

If you have never petted a cat or a dog once in a lifetime, you might not know how playing with them can be a stress buster for you. This has been proven by the research conducted by Washington State University. According to the research, petting cats and dogs have several stress-relieving and psychological benefits. The research was published in the journal AERA Open.

The study was conducted among 249 college students who were randomly divided into 4 groups. Among those four groups, the first group was allowed to be with dogs and cats for 10 minutes - they could either play with them or generally hang out with them as they prefer. The second group was just allowed to observe the group one, the third group was asked to watch a slideshow of cats and dogs while the fourth one was kept waiting.

For the test, the researchers collected the participants' saliva samples in the morning to study the levels of salivary cortisol, a biological marker to identify stress levels. The results were as expected as the participants who were with pets showed significantly lower levels of stress.

Music For Stress Relief

Music calms the nerves! Yes, that's true. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have proven that listening to music has a sedative effect. The study was published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal).

In the research, instead of giving Midazolam (a medication to cause drowsiness or to sedate people before the surgery), they had one section of the participants (out of 157) separated and made them listen to 'Weightless' for three minutes, a Marconi Union (UK band) song. The tune was named as 'most relaxing song' on earth. This was done before the administration of regional anaesthesia called single-injection peripheral nerve block used to block pain sensations from a particular area of the body.
The study revealed, "The use of benzodiazepines for conscious sedation also requires continuous vital sign monitoring of patients. More importantly, a recent Cochrane review showed the low quality of evidence that midazolam reduces pre-procedural anxiety compared with placebo".

Meaning, the medication used to sedate have certain side effects like hostility, respiratory depression, and aggression while the 'music medicine' has shown to significantly reduce the preoperative anxiety.
But still, the genre of music well suited for lowering anxiety is a matter of debate.

Naturally Occurring Bacteria To Relieve Stress

As per the new study published in Psychopharmacology, Mycobacterium vaccae, a nonpathogenic bacteria found naturally in soil could be the next useful way to prevent the onset of stress.
During the research, the team isolated a fatty acid found in the microorganism and chemically treated it. This chemically treated fatty acid of the bacterium was proven to be effective in restraining the nerve paths that cause stress. The test was first performed on mice immune cells.

On this note, the researchers said that the level of stress increases as we go far away from nature.

Story first published: Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 17:43 [IST]