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Sarah

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Milky espresso drinks
  • A cappuccino is milky, foamy and equally caffeinated.
  • A latte is a shot of espresso and steamed milk with a tiny amount of foam.
  • A flat white is like a latte, but made with a velvety, steamed micro-foam milk.
  • A Mocha is a latte with chocolate flavouring.

@sarah485

How To Order The Coffee Drink You Want Without Sounding Like A Tool

huffpost.com

For straight espresso drinks
  • On the days when you need something quick and strong, order an espresso.
  • Or a doppio espresso which is a double shot.
  • If you want the strength of espresso but with less liquid, order a ristretto.
  • If you want a weaker espresso, order a macchiato. It will come with a topping of foamed milk.
Brewed coffee drinks
  • A pour-over method is used in many high-end coffee shops. It's slowly brewed coffee.
  • If you prefer a heavier flavour, the French press is brewed for about three minutes and could be your order of choice.
  • For the super bold, the red-eye is coffee served with a shot of espresso in it.
Nutella's roots traced to Napoleon

In 1806, Napoleon tried to stop British commerce in an attempt to win the Napoleonic wars.

His actions resulted in a continental blockade which caused the cost of chocolate to rise steeply. But the creative chocolatiers of northern Italy started adding chopped hazelnuts to chocolate to make supplies last longer. They named it 'gianduia'.

What makes Nutella so irresistible?

theboar.org

In the middle 1900s, chocolate became expensive again due to rationing in Europe during World War II. In 1946, Italian pastry maker Pietro Ferrero added hazelnut once more and created Pasta Gianduja, renamed 'Nutella' in 1964.

It's popularity increased sharply, and it became a popular luxury for Italians. It led to Ferrero (now a global company) having an annual turnover of £6.5bn.

Apart from sugar and fat, Nutella is rich in chocolate. Chocolate contains addictive substances such as tryptophan and phenylethylamine. This causes feelings of excitement and attraction.

American blogger Sara Rosso established World Nutella day on 5th February 2007. It became a global phenomenon. Ferrero took ownership of this holiday in 2015 to allow it to spread further.

The Importance Of Breathing Techniques
  • Many different civilizations have practiced different breathing techniques as a part of their culture and their lifestyles, such as Taoists and Hindus.
  • Proper breathing allows the bodily functions, mental health, and overall well-being to perform better. It is the focal point to distract the self's attention from negative thoughts.
  • Breathing is the lowest common denominator in calming the body and the mind.

Proper Breathing Brings Better Health

scientificamerican.com

  • The power of breathing is evident with people who have breathing disorders. As emotions affect our well-being, so does our breathing.
  • Our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are in control of producing feelings of calmness and the latter, the body's rapid involuntary response to stressful situations.
  • Many studies have confirmed the effects of breathing techniques against anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Although they do not disappear entirely, it helps alleviate their symptoms.
  • It is a popular technique that promotes relaxation by coordinating our breathing, slowly and steadily, with our heart rate, stabilizing the heartbeat.
  • There are many versions to cardiac coherence: 5-second inhale-exhale for a 5-minute repetition or 4-second inhale 6-second exhale cycle.
  • Cardiac coherence’s stabilization of the heartbeat can dampen anxiety powerfully.
  • Breathing techniques have an influence over our attention, wakefulness, and anxiety.
  • They help ease stress and other negative emotions.
  • They have a profound impact on our physiological health including respiratory issues or mental well-being.

You can use them on occasions such as:

  • When you are nervous or stressing out
  • When insomnia strikes
  • To relieve chronic anxiety
  • To counter minor physical tension from stressful situations
  • During the pleasurable moments and for enjoyment.
  1. Stand Up Straight - Good posture enables your body to breathe properly on its own
  2. Follow Your Breath - This focuses on the motions and movements of each inhale and exhale flowing through the body
  3. Abdominal Breathing - This is through breathing with your stomach and chest
  4. Rhythmic Breathing - Often recommended for anxiety patients
  5. Alternate Nostrils - This is breathing through the nostrils alternately in rhythm
  6. Think Reassuring Thoughts While Breathing - You inhale the good, exhale the bad.
There is no ‘right’ way to sit

When it comes to preventing aches and pains, there is no right way to sit.

  • It is a myth that sitting upright is good, and slouching is bad. There’s actually no evidence to support this.
  • Sitting up straight for a while becomes uncomfortable. We all realize this but are quick to suggest sitting upright is the best.
  • Sitting up straight is more socially acceptable than slouching.
  • Slouching and bad posture will not cause chronic back pain.
  • Genetics, anxiety, sleep patterns and stress play a role in poor posture.

A scientist's guide to life: How to sit correctly

sciencefocus.com

Regular chair and desks versus ergonomic work stations do not make much of a difference. If they do work, it is because of novelty and usually short-lived.

  • If you are pain-free and sitting comfortably, you don't need to change.
  • If you experience a bit of pain, play around with your chair and find a better way to sit.
  • If you have persistent pain, try different chairs and find one that's right for you.

Instead of getting up and moving at prescribed intervals, people should just move more.

Cortisol is a stress hormone and has a particular circadian rhythm that is regulated by the brain. According to a 2009 study, interrupting this rhythm can lead to metabolic abnormalities, fatigue, and poor quality of life.

Consuming caffeine when your cortisol levels are high can lead to interference in production of cortisol and increase your tolerance. You may then need more caffeine over time.

How to make your coffee habit benefit you

bigthink.com

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

While We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey

nationalgeographic.com

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

We spend about half our sleeping time in stage 2. It can last up to 50 minutes during the first 90-minute sleep cycle, and less during subsequent cycles. 

During this time the brain consolidates the information that has been collected during the waking hours. It makes connections you might not make otherwise. It also curates which memories to keep and which to delete.

Some scientists consider stage 3 and 4 to be one stage.  Your body rests during these stages to help cells recover. Your cells produce the most growth hormone here to mend your bones and muscles.

While all this is happening, your muscles are fully relaxed. Mental activity is limited, including dreaming. 

We can remain in stage 4 - similar to a coma or brain death - for only about 30 minutes before the brain wakes up and falls back to sleep again. 

Even healthy sleepers wake several times a night, but might not be aware of it.

REM

Rapid Eye Movement or REM follows after the four stages of NREM (non-REM) sleep and occupies about one-fifth of total rest time in adults.

During REM, all vivid dreaming takes place. Our internal temperature is at its lowest. Our heart rate increases and our breathing is irregular. Generally, our muscles are immobilized, and we are incapable of physical response, except for our eyes and ears. However, our brain is fully active.

Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, body temperature and blood pressure. The lack of sleep prevents us from regulating our moods well or recovering promptly from injuries.
Sleep reduces the risk of developing dementia. Our neurons deflate by 60 percent while we sleep, widening the spaces between them to receive metabolic waste. During sleep, spinal fluid wash this waste away.
  • More than 80 million American adults suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.
  • Fatigue contributes to more than a million auto accidents each year.
  • About one-third of us will suffer from some form of sleep disorder.
  • People with Kleine-Levin syndrome will sleep nearly nonstop for a week or two and return to regular cycles without any side effects.
  • 4 % of US adults take sleeping pills in any given month.
  • The prefrontal cortex, the place in the brain that controls decision-making and problem-solving, is the first to suffer from not enough sleep.  It causes you to be more irritable, moody and irrational.
  • Sleeping less than six hours a night increases the risk of depression, psychosis, and stroke.
  • Lack of sleep is tied to obesity. The stomach and other organs overproduce ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which causes overeating.
Positive psychology: the "science of happiness"

The "science of happiness" was born as a result of Martin Seligman's (the father of positive psychology) endeavour to approach psychology beyond the idea of restoring normality in individuals and to look at happiness and contentment as ways to not only restore normality, but also to prevent and protect as well as potentially cure.

Positive psychology has three main areas: Generation of both short and long term healthy pleasures, joy obtained through the connection with others and happiness that comes from a meaningful life.

Positive psychology - the Pollyanna of psych?

draudreyt.com

Neuroscience research demonstrates the power of positive psychology:

  • Studies showed that repetitive negative thinking causes one pattern of brain activity, while positive thoughts can produce another.
  • Practices such as gratitude, mindfulness, and physical activity can change certain pathways within the brain.
  • Medication can also stimulate or suppress brain activity. Martin Seligman found a combined treatment plan of medication and therapy can help patients recover sooner.

Positive psychology treatments focus on four fundamental areas:

  • Strengths: Finding one's inner strength and resilience.
  • Quality of life: Goals and achievements should be underpinned by meaning and purpose.
  • Hope: Ensuring a positive attitude when faced with life's trials and knowing that they have the support to cope.
  • Wellbeing: A sense of environmental mastery, full engagement with the world, and personal satisfaction.
Intervention techniques for positive psychology
  • Reflective journaling
  • Mindfulness and gratitude
  • Identifying and balancing negative thoughts
  • Accepting and managing emotions
  • Forming healthy interpersonal relationships, including forgiveness.

Studies show that individuals with a positive outlook on life have lower blood pressure, fewer illnesses, faster healing times and higher recovery rates.

Positive psychology, just like the the majority of interventions, is not enough on its own. The right importance should be given other aspects such as: overall physical, mental and social wellness of the individual.

Positive psychology will not prevent life's problems but will give a lens through which one can view difficulties. Finding the silver lining in every cloud lays the foundation by which resetting is made possible.

Positive psychology will not necessarily prevent illness, but their approach can be beneficial when combined with other treatments.

  • Make a list of the things that make you happy. Take photos of them or write them down on post-its to remind you when you need a lift.
  • Don't repress painful experiences. Instead, ask what you can learn from it.
  • Do something to boost your overall health every day. Think about something you're looking forward to today, even if it's taking the time to enjoy a cup of tea.
How to reach weight-loss goals

Finding a weight-loss diet is usually not a problem, be it paleo, low-carb, or wine-based. The real challenge is sticking to it. A recent study used data from a diet app and concluded that small, short-term goals that responded to the dieter's progress helped them reach their long-term goals.

Despite the goals being self-directed, people take their daily goals seriously. Even if there is no kind of punishment attached, they will reduce their consumption or increase their exercise to keep them near their goals. Those who achieved their short-term goals were more likely to meet subsequent goals.

To Reach Weight-Loss Targets, Start with Small Goals

insights.som.yale.edu

Researchers built a model to explore how small variations in goal design could influence motivation.

  • They found that adaptive goals are more beneficial than static goals.
  • Challenging goals are more useful for people who recently experienced setbacks or made significant progress.
The Downside Of Using AC

Air conditioning is necessary, but too much of artificially cooled air drives up CFC gas emission, increases our power bills, makes power plants consume more fossil fuels, and makes us addicted to comfort.

Five ways to stay cool without blasting the AC

popsci.com

One of the most natural ways to get rid of our bodies of excessive heat is to have a good sweat.

Humidity becomes a spoilsport in this, and having dry air around your body helps in regularizing your body temperature.

  • Hot air rises above, so an exhaust fan installed at the top edge of the room can push it out. This also regulates the humidity.
  • A cool breeze can be given way to drive out the stale, humid air of the room, making it comfortable without an air conditioner.
  • A large porch absorbs direct sunlight, ensuring rooms do not overheat.
  • Older houses had chimneys and cupolas that helped in air ventilation, something that can be considered.

Curtains and shades can block off the direct sunlight, which can cause the greenhouse effect inside your house if there are too many glass doors and windows. Using solar screens and window tints also help certain radiations.

Houseplants, especially indoor plants that require less maintenance, are great for sponging up the humidity and also blocking a bit of sunlight.

  • Moving air, or wind, is a great cooler for the homes, and placing electric fans on the windows, sucking the hot air out.
  • Ceiling fans that move counterclockwise also pull hot air away.
  • Fans can be strategically placed to ensure flow of air in the home.
  • One can use dehumidifiers to draw water out of the air, getting rid of the humidity.
  • Avoiding appliances that produce heat also helps. Many appliances like the dishwashers, ovens, blow dryers and water heaters produce unnecessary heat.
  • Efficient, timed use of the air conditioners helps in reducing consumption. Ensure the windows are sealed and the cold air is not escaping in the basement or outside.
  • Make use of energy-saving, self-regulating AC units with smart thermostats.
The pleasure of walking

It was easy to dismiss walking as a form of physical activity until recently. But lockdown has reminded us of the pleasures of walking. Both its physical and mental benefits are being appreciated once again.

To walk to the best of our abilities, we need to walk the way our bodies were designed to - which no longer comes naturally in this sedentary, screen-based era.

Walk this way! How to optimise your stride to get the most from your daily stroll

theguardian.com

  1. Instead of propelling ourselves forward by pushing off with the back foot, we attempt to use our stepping foot to get us going. Sitting down too much shortens and tightens the hip flexor muscles, causing us to take the wrong step.
  2. The passive foot strike. The movement provided by the joints in our feet offers suspension and balance. Plodding along flatly causes knee discomfort. It can create a slight misalignment of the back, and stiffness of the shoulders.
  3. Letting your head hang forwards. Screens, reading, and desk work have made this the default position. With the head slightly forward, the muscles in the upper back and shoulders have to contract to hold it there. Back mobility becomes restricted, and you will be unable to rotate your spine from the hips.
  4. Arms hanging awkwardly or forced into a tense power-walk movement. If you get steps one to three right, the arms will naturally dangle freely.
  • When people walk together, they unconsciously fall into step. Their neural activity synchronizes too. The more in sync we are, the deeper our social connection.
  • Walking aids creativity. A study revealed that when participants who brainstormed while walking, thought of more valid ideas than those who tried the same while sitting.
  • Half an hour of walking per day helps treat depression.
  • To reinforce the positive effects, notice how you're feeling. Notice what you are seeing, smelling, and tasting.
  • Be aware of rumination if you're struggling with something such as grief, a job loss, or uncertainty. Avoid unhelpful responses such as "why me?" or "why this?" Instead, ask, "what now?" to help you find a way forward.

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