The effects of color on the moods of college students. When you need a quick break, break off a square of dark chocolate to boost your brain health and reduce stress Berk L, et al. As an added bonus, dark chocolate is lower in sugar than milk chocolate, but it hits the sweet tooth sweet spot. The amber elixir from our buzzy friends may help relieve anxiety, fight off depression, and even protect the brain Rahman MM, et al.
Neurological effects of honey: Current and future prospects. Drizzle honey in your tea , coffee, yogurt, or just go straight for the jar with a spoon. The sweet stuff also works for a quick energy boost. Take a five-minute break to peel, slice, and bite into a juicy mango. Weird fact: Mangos contain a compound called linalool, the main ingredient in lavender essential oil. And you know what lavender does — ahhhhh. Analgesic-like activity of essential oil constituents: An update. Chewing gum is an easy way to keep the stress monster at bay while potentially boosting your mood and productivity Allen AP, et al.
Chewing gum: Cognitive performance, mood, well-being, and associated physiology. Instead of clenching your jaw, may as well put it to work. Trail mix, an apple, or some celery sticks provide a satisfying crunch to curb your spiral. No need to go on a week-long silent retreat with zen-looking yogis to snag some serenity.
Meditation, Stress, and Your Health
You can meditate in as little as one minute with visualization techniques. Put your head between your knees, or stand and hang your head and arms toward your toes. Getting your noggin below your heart has restorative effects on the autonomic nervous system ANS , lessening your reactivity to the fight-or-flight response Papp ME, et al. Increased heart rate variability but no effect on blood pressure from 8 weeks of hatha yoga — a pilot study.
The good news is that taking slow, full breaths can calm you. Try a quick breathing exercise to get back to a more relaxed state. You know how your cat will go all rigid for a second, tensing all those kitty muscles and then relaxing them? That looks kind of good, right? Well, you can try it too — or a version of it anyway. Progressive relaxation involves tensing and releasing muscles, body part by body part. You may not have time to do your whole frame in five minutes, but just arms, shoulders, neck, and head will suffice.
Saying the alphabet in reverse temporarily shifts your focus from worrying about your upcoming date or pending performance review. Counting backward can also do the trick. Creative visualization is a mindfulness exercise developed by Shakti Gawain in her book Creative Visualization.
The technique involves mentally imagining what you want to happen in your life, or how you want to feel. It can slay stress fast. A little darkness behind your lids can help shut out the external factors causing you trouble. Stressors may look a little different when you open your eyes, ready to face the world again. Rather than wringing your hands with worry, treat them to a little TLC instead. Just a five-minute hand massage could help relieve anxiety, one study shows Nazari R, et al.
Effects of hand massage on anxiety in patients undergoing ophthalmology surgery using local anesthesia. Rub your favorite cream into your palms. Massage each joint and the webbing between each finger.
Clench and release your fists. Then flex your wrists. The stretch will help relieve tension from endlessly tapping at your keyboard or scrolling through your phone. But acupressure may help alleviate anxiety, according to a recent study W H Au D, et al. Effects of Acupressure on Anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupressure is like the non-poke-y version of acupuncture.
Use your fingers to find the two divots where your neck muscles attach to your skull. Press firmly for 15 seconds to relieve neck tension. A lacrosse or golf ball will do the trick too. Gently roll the ball under your arches, stopping to apply more pressure when you find a tender spot. It might be tempting to throw your laptop out the nearest office window or lay on your horn in traffic, but squeezing a stress ball is a safer — and cheaper — option.
Head to the loo and turn on the cold tap. Cool your hands and face with H 2 O and dab some on your pulse points. Cold water has an energizing effect. Is your to-do list making you want to pull your hair out? Hair tugging is actually a massage therapy technique that can help reduce head tension and bring on relaxation. Pull your hair gently so that you feel the scalp lift slightly.
Follow up with a light massage of the scalp. A hot soak in the company of bath bombs and candles might sound perfect, but any space that gives you privacy will work. All you need is five minutes of alone time to get you a wee bit closer to calm. If your cubicle is less than calming, take a minute to find a spot that is. Sit beneath a tree, for example. Or just focus on your potted plant for a spell and breathe. Need a slightly sunnier outlook? Seek out some natural light — no not the beer. Sunlight, whether through a window or outside, can douse your worries An M, et al.
Why we need more nature at work: Effects of natural elements and sunlight on employee mental health and work attitudes. Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing but gaze. Looking at nature scenes like trees and public parks can be more relaxing than staring at a tech screen. A stressful situation, or one that we perceive to be stressful, triggers the release of hormones that make our hearts pound, our breath quicken, and our muscles tense.
Unfortunately, when this surge of hormones happens in response to our many modern-day stressors, it can take a toll on the body and mind, and put us at risk for health problems such as heart disease, insomnia , and depression. Some techniques, like deep breathing and relaxation meditation , are available to us pretty much anywhere and anytime we need it. Others, like spending time in nature, doing yoga or qigong, or even getting a massage, may take a little more planning.
Meditation For Increased Energy: How & Why it Works – 5 Reasons
The idea is to begin incorporating relaxation skills and activities that promote calm and well-being into your daily life. Try a few out and see which ones work best for you. One of the simplest ways to relax is to take some deep diaphragmatic breaths, also called belly breathing. Variations of this technique may have you hold your breath for several counts after the inhale, or breathe out for a count of 5 or 7, for example.
The idea, no matter how long you hold it, is to slow down the pace of the breath.
- Exercising to relax.
- Why stress happens and how to manage it!
- The Reality of Life: Story of a lived Life?
Relaxation meditation , which typically involves cultivating calm by using an object of focus such as your breath or a visualization, is a proven tool to help manage and ease stress. And we have proof that it works! Regular practice makes it easier to condition our bodies to find balance — that sweet spot between focus and relaxation.
Not every meditation technique is meant for relaxation, so how do you do meditation for relaxation? Focus on your breath. Find a quiet space and get comfortable. Begin by taking five deep breaths — in through the nose and out through the mouth. As you breathe in, think about taking in fresh air; as you breathe out, think about letting go of any stress in the body and mind. On the last exhalation, gently close the eyes. Check In. Pause and take a few moments to settle into your body. Body scan.
Popular in: Anxiety / Stress
Scan your body from head to toe, observing any tension or discomfort. Scan a second time, observing which parts of the body feel relaxed. Take about 20 seconds for each scan. Notice any thoughts that arise without attempting to alter them.