Grass Smells When It's In Distress
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Mmmm, the smell of freshly cut grass. Like gasoline, cut grass is one of those odd, pungent smells that grows on people, probably because it's linked to warm weather and, hopefully, happy memories of being outside. But it turns out, the cause of the smell isn't nearly as pleasant. The scent is actually a sign of the plant in distress, and it's the side effect of some serious chemical reactions.
The Surprising Ways Stress Affects Your Body
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Everyone deals with stress some of the time. One of the most popular times? The holidays. Gifts to buy, meals to cook, family drama to dredge up again. It can be a lot to handle. Most of us probably know the telltale symptoms of stress: muscle tension, headaches, sleeplessness, irritability. But it has some more surprising and insidious effects, too.For example, did you know that there's a scientific link between stress and acne? Stress creates an inflammatory response, which can cause otherwise harmlessly clogged pores to turn red and trigger the production of pus, creating unsightly zits. This inflammatory response can also make you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses, according to a 2012 study in PNAS.
Neuroscientists Found The Most Relaxing Song
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How do you manage your stress? Maybe you blow off steam by going on a run, or practice the art of mindfulness with meditation or a yoga class. You might know that music therapy has been proven effective in managing stress, but did you know that neuroscientists have determined the most relaxing song? Give it a listen in the video below, then decide if you agree with their findings.The song is "Weightless" by English ambient music band, Marconi Union. UK neuroscientists from Mindlab International conducted a study where they instructed participants to solve difficult puzzles while they were attached to sensors. While the puzzles did their magic raising the participants' stress levels, the scientists measured their brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International explains to Inc. that "Weightless" "produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date," dropping participants' anxiety rate by 65 percent.
Stress Makes Things Stink
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When you're stressed, it can feel like everything is terrible. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, that includes smells. Psychology researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison put 14 people into fMRI brain scans, then showed them disturbing images and asked them to smell a series of scents they had previous rated as neutral. Sure enough, being under stress made them more likely to rate those innocuous smells as distasteful.
The Stress Of Life Led Thomas Thwaites To Become A Goat
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Sometimes the expectations of human life can seem overwhelming. For author and designer Thomas Thwaites, the stress of a failing relationship and the pressure of minor Internet celebrity (he earned attention for his 2011 book "The Toaster Project" and his accompanying TED talk) was too much to deal with. But instead of crawling into bed or drowning his stress in ice cream, the designer decided to try out living life as a goat. "Human life can just be so difficult," Thwaites told NPR. "And you look at a goat and it's just, you know, it's free. It doesn't have any concerns." Thwaites created multiple versions of "goat suits" and finally settled on prosthetics that allowed him to walk on all fours in a goat-like way. He consulted an ethologist in an effort to get into a goat's mindset. But the diet of the goat posed a substantial hurdle: humans can't digest grass. So Thwaites attempted to create an artificial goat stomach. When that didn't work out, he cooked the grass he spat in a bag into a grassy stew. Thwaites wrote about his experience in his book, "GoatMan."