How Slacking Off Makes You Smarter
Gabbing at the water cooler, taking a break, and getting a massage might sound like the special job skills Bart Simpson would list on his resume. But they may, in fact, be the right thing to do.
How's that? It's all about blood pressure. High blood pressure isn't good for any part of your body, and the brain is no exception. New research looked into just how bad it is for you: Every rise in your diastolic pressure (the lower number) of just 10 mm Hg is associated with a 7% higher risk of cognitive impairment.(Of course, the upper number matters, too.)
To drop the pressure, you know we're going to say that you need to eat right, lose weight if you need to, and exercise, because it works. Filling up on grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes and limiting meats, fats, and sweets can make your blood pressure lower in just 2 weeks. Here are some specific foods you should add to your diet to reduce blood pressure.
But to give yourself an extra mental edge, try these lesser-known pressure reducers:
- Get a work buddy. When job stress gets more out of control than college students around alcohol, having a "hang in there, got your back" coworker can negate the blood pressure effect. No job? Get a buddy anyway.
- Breathe and focus. Meditation -- that ancient art of focusing on a phrase or on your breath and allowing your thoughts to gently come and go -- is a proven stress reliever that can lower blood pressure.
- Get a rubdown. A rubdown of sore muscles produces a short-term drop in blood pressure, from about 125/76 down to 115/70 after 45 to 60 minutes.