As if we needed a reason to incorporate more chocolate into our lives!
The science is in…and it turns out, chocolate may be the latest and greatest secret weapon to combatting anxiety. New research suggests that just the smell of chocolate has powerful anxiety-relieving abilities. But why stop there, we’ve got a delicious DIY chocolate scrub to engulf your senses and homemade mouthwatering chocolate bar recipe too!
Chocolate: The Secret to Combating Anxiety
According to Middlesex University, our behavior is directly correlated to our exposure to certain smells and odors. Publishing the world’ first study of the effects of odor on our psychological performance, Middlesex University came to some surprising conclusions on the influence of food stimuli on the human Central Nervous System. In the study, subjects brain activity was analyzed upon being exposed to varying smells and aromas.
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Their findings? When exposed to the odor of chocolate, subjects psychological brain waves were instantly relaxed and/or distracted. These findings led scientists at Middlesex University to believe that chocolate may be a viable option for easing and subsiding anxiety episodes – both in their frequency and intensity.
Dr. Neil Martin, of Middlesex’s Neuropsychology Centre explains, “The aim was to compare the effects of pleasant and unpleasant ambient odors on stress, anxiety, depression and mood,” with their findings proving that, “the smell of chocolate really does make people less stressed and anxious, and more relaxed.”
The applications of these findings?
Based on this study, we have far more than control than we think when it comes to our mood and mental well-being. According to Dr. Martin, we ought to be aware of our “olfactory environment” to control our emotional state, “People can use scents to improve alertness, well-being, and anxiety.” Evidently, the power is in our hands, choose to surround yourself with anxiety-soothing scents and your mood will follow suit!
DIY Mocha Spice Body Scrub
We’ve covered the research on the smell of chocolate…now what!? To ease any anxiety, stress or uneasiness, treat yourself to this all natural, chocolate body scrub you can easily make at home, now. Not only will your skin be silky smooth afterward, your spirits will be lifted and worries washed down the drain.
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch each nutmeg and ginger
- 2 cups of sugar (salt can be used in replace of sugar; either work)
- 1 cup of oil (can be canola oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil or baby oil)
- Mix dry ingredients together well, then add in oil.
- Combine until mixture is smooth.
P.S. Eating Chocolate Reduces Anxiety Too!
Did you really think we were going to tempt you with the heavenly smell of chocolate and not let you have a taste!? Be smart about your chocolate selection and always opt for high-quality dark chocolate with little to no additives or preservatives. Try out this simple homemade chocolate bar recipe, here.
Incorporating dark chocolate (not milk or white) is a huge step in the right direction towards mental health and anxiety relief – the science doesn’t lie. Here are just a few ways eating chocolate can be beneficial for to those suffering from anxiety. Eat up!
- Elevates mood! Chocolate’s high theobromine content has been shown to boost happiness and crank up your mood.
- High magnesium content. Magnesium has been consistently proven to lower anxiety, with many anxiety-sufferers taking magnesium supplements on a daily basis.
- Caffeine boost! Caffeine advocates and supporters are known to get in heated debates but it’s safe to say that the small amount of caffeine-laced in dark chocolate has been known as an anxiety-reducer. Skip the coffee and stick to a piece of dark chocolate.
- Serotonin producer. Anxiety’s biggest culprit is lower serotonin (serotonin is directly related to our mood and mental stability). Dark chocolate will have anxiety running for the hills.
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