Five Tips to Help with Relaxation
In honor of National Relaxation Day, we’ve got a short list of activities to help you unwind, ranging from hot beverages to long stretches. Managing your stress is imperative to keeping healthy. If your body remains tense and on high alert, it can not only cause mental strain but also bring on physical ailments and stress to important relationships. Here’s how you can relax today and every day.
Read a book (a real one).
Consider taking a trip to the bookstore or library. Just six minutes of reading a physical book – not the digital kind – can reduce stress levels by more than two thirds or 68%.1 Why a book with paper pages instead of digital screens? The light from electronic devices doesn’t allow your eyes to relax. Studies show that because “the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart.”
Visit the aquarium.
Being eye-level with fish can really ease the soul. Scientists at the National Marine Aquarium studied how slowly restocking new fish2 into tanks affected onlookers. They discovered that heart rates, along with blood pressure, dropped. In fact, people reported having better moods after viewing the exhibit.
Enjoy tea meditation.
The key here is meditation – a still and soothing concentration – that just so happens to involve something tasty with a few ritualistic steps. The tea helps by providing a sort of script to follow, making concentration easier. Boil the water, brew the leaves, savor the taste, keep sipping the herbal mix – repeat. By taking your time and following the process, you give yourself the break you need to be present without worry.
It has been found that long-term have an increased amount of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions or the auditory and sensory cortex – meaning: when you’re mindfully meditating, you’re focusing on breathing, sounds, and all that is in the moment, essentially quieting cognition down.
Go to a comedy show.
Solve your stress problem with a good laugh. Recent studies have shown that laughter relieves tension by revving up circulation and prompting muscle relaxation
When a small group of adults watched a comedy3 they were monitored for carotid artery activity. As opposed to a group of adults who watched a serious documentary,
“arterial compliance was improved for a full 24 hours after subjects watched a funny movie. Basically, when it comes to stress, laugh it off.
Do as the yogis do.
Yoga is a practice that exercises the body and the mind. Hatha yoga, in particular, is an excellent way to lower stress levels, as the poses are designed to increase strength and flexibility. Breathing is at the center of the practice, teaching you to control it so that you can quiet your body and your mind to be aware of the present moment without any judgment.4
- Staff Writer, Reading ‘can help reduce stress’. The Telegraph.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5070874/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html
- Deborah Cracknell, Marine Biota and Psychological Well-Being: A Preliminary Examination of Dose-Response Effects in an Aquarium Setting. Environment & Behavior. http://eab.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/07/27/0013916515597512.abstract
- American College of Sports Medicine Staff, Exercise is Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine. http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/laugh-a-little-to-help-protect-heart-lower-blood-pressure
- Mayo Clinic Staff, Fight Stress and Find Serenity. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-20044733
- Posted by holx-admin
- On September 1, 2016