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This Five-Minute Breathing Exercise Can Help Calm Your Anxiety and Lift Your Mood
In a recent study from Stanford Medicine, it was shown that cyclic sighing, or a controlled breathing exercise that emphasizes long exhalations, can help to lower stress levels and improve mood in as little as five minutes. The study had 111 healthy participants complete the exercise for five minutes per day over the course of one month, and found that those who practiced cyclic sighing had significantly lower anxiety levels and improved positive affect (good feelings) compared to those who merely observed their breath during mindfulness meditation.
What Went Right: A Roundup of This Week's Best News
In a world full of bad news, it's easy to forget the good that's happening too. But we believe that good news matters, and there's tons of it to go around! Some of this week's best headlines include the World Happiness Report releasing some incredible findings, a low-cost universal transit pass rollout in Germany, and a new policy in Scotland that's saving lives. Plus, a new report on slashing emissions and renewable energy is giving hope on saving the planet!
Here Are Eight Ways Houseplants Can Improve Your Home
Houseplants are experiencing a revival in homes worldwide, particularly among Millennials and Gen-Z. People are turning to houseplants to reconnect with nature, especially during the pandemic when many were stuck inside. Houseplants provide a daily ritual that disconnects people from screens and allows them to nurture something that needs them. They also offer many benefits, such as improving air quality, reducing stress and anxiety, and bringing color and contrast to a room.
A Young Boy Just Met His Sports Hero - Who Has the Same Name as Him
Blake Wheeler, a young hockey fan from Missouri, received a surprise acknowledgement from his hockey hero, Winnipeg Jet Blake Wheeler, during a game against the St. Louis Blues. The 11-year-old Blake, who shares the same name as the hockey pro, has been a fan of the Winnipeg Jets since he began playing hockey at age five and learned of Wheeler’s name. During the game, Blake held up a sign with a picture of himself and his namesake, prompting the hockey pro to come over and share a few words with him.
Indigenous Artists Are Helping Skateboarding Become a Community Sport
Skateboarding has become increasingly popular in Indigenous communities across the United States, leading to a growing demand for skate parks. The U.S. Postal Service has recognized this trend by issuing "Art of the Skateboard" stamps that feature the work of skateboard artists from around the country, including Indigenous artists Di’Orr Greenwood and Crystal Worl. Skateboarding culture has become increasingly popular across Indigenous communities, with youth-organized competitions and new skate parks opening on reservations.
This Stunning Photograph of the Moon Captures a Phenomenon Known as "Earthshine"
Miguel Claro, a professional photographer and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, has captured a stunning image of the night sky that reveals a rare view of planet Mercury. The image shows a smiling waning crescent moon and the orange bright dot of Mercury, the inner planet closest to the sun, which is difficult to spot in the eastern sky. The photograph also captures Earthshine, a phenomenon described and drawn by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago, which occurs when sunlight is reflected from the Earth to the moon and back to the Earth.
Taylor Swift is Quietly Making Generous Gifts to Communities on Her Tour Route
Taylor Swift is not only taking her sold-out Eras Tour across the country this spring, but she is also making generous donations to local charities along the way. She reportedly made a donation to the Arizona Food Bank Network, and also made a contribution to Nevada food bank Three Square ahead of her tour stops in Las Vegas. Swift's agent said she "planned to make a positive impact" in communities along her tour.
In Pictures: Washington DC's Cherry Blossoms Are Getting an Early Bloom
Despite the unusual warm weather in Washington D.C. and along much of the U.S. East Coast this winter, there is something to celebrate: an early bloom of cherry blossoms! The nation’s capital is experiencing an early bloom of its iconic cherry blossoms, nearly two weeks ahead of the average peak bloom date. This year marks the fourth year in a row that peak bloom has hit prior to April 1. It's a joyous sight for locals and visitors alike who flock to the Tidal Basin to see the pink and white blooms.
Like Mother Like Son: This Mom and Son Duo Are Celebrating Match Day Together
A mother and son in the US, Wenjing Cao and Hefei Liu, are both celebrating after being accepted into residency programs on Match Day. Cao, who practiced internal medicine in China for a decade, will begin clinical pathology residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, while Liu, a student at the Medical College of Wisconsin, will study radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. They said they are excited to be starting their next chapters and proud of each other's achievements.
A Mysteriously Young New Galaxy Could Reveal Secrets of the Early Universe
Scientists have discovered a galaxy that's just starting to emerge from hiding, and it might be one of the youngest ever found. Named "Peekaboo," this galaxy appears to have a significant lack of old stars, suggesting it may have formed billions of years after the big bang - much later than other nearby galaxies. Although researchers are still investigating, the discovery of Peekaboo could be a huge breakthrough in our understanding of how galaxies form and evolve over time.
Meet the All-Female Minor Hockey Team Making History
A trailblazing group of girls in Sackville, New Brunswick, are making history in the small town by introducing its first-ever all-female minor hockey league team. The Sackville Sirens have a roster of 14 girls who also play on co-ed teams. Coach Nathan Phinney says the Sirens have seen support from parents, businesses, and other female hockey teams since starting up. The team's captain Joey Jane Paynter says "it's more fun to play with the girls because they make it fun."