Was Autoaufkleber in unseren Köpfen anrichten

„Ich bremse auch für Tiere“, „Klein Lisa on Board“ oder die Insel Sylt: Auf deutschen Autos klebt eine Menge. Ein Forscher hat sich gefragt, was das mit den Betrachtern macht.

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Try This 45-Minute Yoga Playlist for a Calming Practice

In my mind, the only thing better than a calm, restorative yoga class is the perfect playlist to heighten that feeling of total relaxation. Music that seems to match your breathing and heartbeat, coaxing them into a smooth, melodic rhythm just takes the practice to the next level.
 
When I’m teaching or practicing this more passive style of yoga, I like to have a playlist that is a mix of songs with lyrics and ambient sounds. This is my 45-minute yoga playlist for a calming practice.

Instrumental by José Gonzáles

Credit: Malin Johansson

Credit: Malin Johansson

I can’t speak highly enough of Jose Gonzales and the magic that is his music. I use at least one of his songs in each of my playlists, and this in my new favorite. It is such a simple song, without lyrics, just a consistent and steady strumming of the guitar. It is a perfect song to use as you start to come into your breath and your body.

Sort of Revolution by Fink

Credit: Ninjatune

Credit: Ninjatune

With a steady breath, this song will help you to carry that into your early movements. Without building too much energy, Revolution offers a bit of introspection with its lyrics while maintaining a meditative rhythm.

River by Leon Bridges

leon bridges

If you’ve ever been brought to tears by a song then you’ll understand how deeply I love this song. It’s a love song, a soul-baring song, and a song that tends to bring on goosebumps. Having it as a part of my practice helps me to allow myself to surrender to my emotions as they come to the surface, and to me that’s the sign of a good practice.

These Days are Numbered by The Head and the Heart

the head and the heart

While melancholy in its lyrics, this song feels like a reminder to be present and grateful for the present moment, not letting life just pass you by. It doesn’t hurt that it’s an absolutely beautiful song too—both lyrically and instrumentally—that touches on our connection to the moon (something most modern yogis can relate to).

Winter Song by The Head and the Heart

the head and the heart

This song serves as a the peak in this practice, building slightly in tempo and intensity. It serves perfectly as the backdrop to a couple of slow vinyasas or any type of flowing movement.

Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer

john mayer

The heavy drumbeat in this song always has the ability to connect me with my heart beat and allow me to truly feel present in my body. I love to find my way into Pigeon pose and let this song just sweep over me like a blanket.

Cherry Wine by Hozier

Hozier

I recently stumbled across this song and fell in love. There is so much depth in the singer’s voice and almost a feeling of heaviness that encourages the sense of grounding and is ideal for restorative yoga. There is somehow also a lightness to this song towards the end (and with the sound of birds chirping), and I find it extremely hard not to be happy when I hear birds chirping.

Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch

alexi murdoch

This is another song I use a lot in my classes. I can remember the first time I heard it, laying in Savasana after the most powerful yoga class I’d ever taken. It was in San Diego, the sun was just setting, and I was looking out the window towards a palm tree on the backdrop of an orange sky. Each time I hear it, I feel transported to that time and that feeling of synchronicity and gratitude.

Happiness by Jonsi & Alex

jonsi and alex riceboy sleeps

With just simple violins, this song somehow creates a sound that feels like the ebb and flow of gentle ocean waves. For me, there’s not much that can make me feel as at ease as the sound and image of the ocean. It allows me to find a place of total calm.

I hope this playlist holds the same magic for you as it does for me. It’s so powerful to find music that resonates so deeply and makes you feel even more connected to your mind, body, and spirit. In a calm yoga practice, there is so much space for letting go and having music to encourage that release is a wonderful thing.

Image credit: Odette Hughes

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3 Science-Backed Ways That Mindfulness and Meditation Help Relieve Stress

There are several prevailing attitudes about meditation. You have the camp of people who swear by it and say that it changed their life, and then there’s the camp that feels like meditation and its benefits are overblown and that sitting still and quietly for long periods of time is silly and irritating.
 
Both of these opinions are very popular and trendy—you either get the celebrities preaching in the magazines about how their mental health was transformed by their meditation, or the humorous comedy sketches about all the ways one’s mind can wander while trying to meditate. But what does the scientific literature have to say about meditation?
 
There’s a wealth of scientific research out there about what mindfulness and meditation can do in your body, and there are some pretty fascinating results to mull over. So how does meditation, or any kind of mindfulness practice, actually physically work in your body?

1. Lowers Stress Hormone Levels

Several studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness practices, known officially in scientific circles as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), can significantly lower the levels of stress hormones and inflammatory proteins in your body.

This study is a meta-analysis of 64 different studies that explore the various positive effects of MBSR in the body—tangible differences noted by scientists before and after practicing MBSR. A small sampling of these improvements include: lower resting heart rate, increased immune strength, improved digestion, improved sleep, reduced allergic reaction severity, improved anxiety and depression, improved PTSD symptoms, and more.

MBSR is often combined with other treatment, such as cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) or a disease-specific medication. The addition of MBSR in these situations will amplify the improvement of the treatment—for example, patients undergoing MBSR as well as therapy will often have better results than those undergoing just therapy on its own.

2. Clears Your Skin

This study found that patients with moderate to severe psoriasis had significantly better results if their light treatments were accompanied by meditation exercises. The research group hypothesized that this is because of the effects discussed above in number 1: MBSR measurably reduces the levels of inflammatory proteins in the body, so patients were able to help their body heal by calming their mind.

This is one of many studies that suggest a very strong connection between mental health and bodily health, which is interesting to consider when thinking about the effectiveness of meditation.

3. Helps You Repair Relationships

One of the less directly physical results of a mindfulness practice is that it can lead you to some intense, beneficial self-reflection. This kind of internally-focused positive energy can lead you to a number of more positive behaviors, one of which is an increased capacity for forgiveness.

One study in particular indicated a connective link between mindfulness practice and enhanced forgiveness, calling to mind the ubiquitous quote “Holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Participants in this study may have come to this realization as part of the exercise, resulting in a positive behavior change.

It’s important to remember that meditation does not look the same for everyone. What works for one person may not work for someone else, and you need to find the mindfulness practice that works best for you.

It may be that for you, meditation is walking through the woods, and for someone else, it’s a candlelit bath. Maybe for one person it’s sitting cross-legged on the floor listening to an endless ‘Om’ soundtrack, and for someone else it’s petting an animal or going for a run.

Meditation can be a powerful tool that could contribute greatly to both your mental and physical health and well-being, so don’t give up if you haven’t found the thing that’s right for you yet. Keep seeking out mindfulness options, and go into it with an open mind—you know yourself best, so listen to what your body and your mind are telling you that you need.

Image credit: Mandy Martini

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20 Funny Tweets You’ll Relate to When You’re Stressed AF

Are you stressed out right now? If you’re like the rest of us, the answer is probably “oh God, yes.” Experts say we’re more stressed out than ever before. Between work woes, financial fears, comment wars, and the pressure of keeping up with the Instagram Joneses who seem so #blessed, life in the 21st century just never slows down. No wonder so many of us are stressed AF.
 
They say that laughter is the best medicine. So if you’re super stressed out, you need to see these 20 funny tweets that basically explain what your life is like right now.

1. When you think about everything that’s stressing you out.

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2. Nailed it.

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3. When you’re stressed, it’s important to savor the little things in life, like your morning coffee.

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4. Even better, switch to tea. Tea has so many healing properties.

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5. Make sure you have the tools you need to cope in times of stress.

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6. Pro tip: leave yourself encouraging notes to stay positive throughout the day.

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7. Getting enough sleep is an important part of stress management.

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8. Maybe take up a new sport to keep your stress levels down.

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9. Or try meditation. That’s supposed to be easy, right?

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10. It all makes so much sense now. Please pass the ice cream!

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11. Okay, stress eating isn’t ideal. But at least you’re not this snake.

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12. The worst part about stress is that it sometimes leads to even more stress.

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13. And then your brain pretty much just breaks.

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14. When you’re ready to snap and someone tries to add to your stress.

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15. Starting a stressful week like:

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16. And then ending that stressful week like:

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17. Chances are, you need all three of these.

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18. Who’s up for a road trip and some light legal paperwork?

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19. This is some really solid advice.

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20. Okay, so times might be tough right now. But if Britney could make it through 2007, you can make it through your hard times, too!

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All jokes aside, stress really does have serious consequences for your mental and physical health, including an increased risk of depression, obesity, and heart disease. If you’re stressed out right now, here are some great ways to unwind!

How do you beat stress? Give us your tips in the comments.

Image credit: KC Green

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