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6 scientifically proven ways to have a better day.

Life can be a little overwhelming at times. Fortunately, science has your back!

We all experience stress, and it can actually be a good thing. But too much can take a pretty big toll.

A recent video from TED-Ed explains what happens to your body when its exposed to too much stress for too long. Dr. Sharon Horesh Bergquist lays out the ins and outs of chronic stress. Long story made short: Too much stress can have potentially deadly effects on the body.

Chronic stress can lead to hypertension, cholesterol plaque buildup, increased chance of heart attacks, increased chance of stroke, irritable bowel syndrome, a weakened immune system, and even DNA-level changes that can shorten your lifespan.


But there's no need to worry! Here are six scientifically-proven methods to reduce stress.

1. Breathe deeply.

Stress causes you to breathe shallower and quicker. Luckily, your body is gullible — you can actually trick it into calming down by breathing more deeply and slowly. Taking slow, deep breaths can help temporarily lower your heart rate and blood pressure!

In. Out. In. Out. Illustrations by Kitty Curran/Upworthy.

2. Squeeeeeze ... and relax.

Subconsciously tensing your muscles is not only a common reaction to stress, but it can also make you feel worse. The key here, then, is to take control of this reaction by clenching and releasing your muscles. A few seconds at a time, go through each area of your body, from head to toe.

Make a fist. Release that fist. Repeat!

This will keep your muscles from straining for an extended period of time and will bring you closer to relaxation. By doing this, you can experience improved mood and lower stress levels.

3. Listen to classical music.

Classical music featuring slower rhythms was found to reduce stress and promote long-term heart health! It's not really super surprising to learn that soothing music can have soothing effects on your well-being, so go on and give it a shot.

Here I am! Rock you like a stress-reducing hurricane!

4. Go for a quick stroll.

Moderate exercise like walking has been shown to significantly reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol, as we learned in the TED-Ed video above, is no good.

The same study found that practicing moving meditation like tai chi has similar benefits!

Around four miles per hour is ideal (just keep it brisk).

5. Grab a book (and read it).

Reading is fundamental! It's also a great way to relax your mind and body. So if you're feeling stressed, try grabbing a book, curling up in a comfy chair, and giving your mind a quick distraction from whatever's got you feeling tense. Go on, give it a try!

You're always welcome to read longer than six minutes.

6. Make friends with your stress.

If you can't beat it, join it! As we learned in the video above, stress doesn't have to be a bad thing.

A recent Harvard study showed that participants who were taught that stress could actually help them complete tough tasks were less anxious and more confident than a control group. Physically, their blood vessels remained relaxed — a much healthier state.

Or, if not friends, then at least frenemies.

If you're finding yourself overwhelmed on a daily basis, though, please see a doctor.

These tips are meant to help out if you're having a rough day and need to feel better quickly. If you're experiencing severe anxiety or depression, it's best to make an appointment with your doctor to come up with a long-term stress-reduction plan.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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