Thursday, February 25, 2010

Interesting and Different Way to Relax

Found this on Redbook and thought it was really interesting. The article gives different ways that will help you clear your head and relax; some that I had not thought of until reading this.

Relax, Already!

By: Karen Asp

Feeling more stressed than ever? Join the club. Three quarters of adults have experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the past year, according to the American Psychological Association. These surprising strategies will go a long way toward taming tension — fast.

1. Tidy up a little.
Here's a reason not to hate housecleaning: Doing 20 minutes a week of housework (or sports, gardening, or walking) could decrease your stress levels, according to a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (Not to mention the "yay, me!" boost you get from completing even one chore.)

2. Stare out the window.
You know how good a walk outside makes you feel. But even just peering through a window can calm you down, says a study from the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

People who looked out at nature scenes like a public fountain, grass, and trees experienced a greater drop in heart rate than they did watching the same images on a high-definition plasma screen. Spend just one minute or less looking outside. And the longer nature's in your sights, the greater the stress relief. So make a point of sitting by your biggest window to pay the bills, sip your tea, or just daydream.

3. Sniff some coffee.
The next time you're feeling overwhelmed, slip into a Starbucks and take a whiff: The aroma of roasted coffee beans can lower anxiety in humans. (no surprise if you're already a java junkie).

4. Get your game on.
Kick your kids off the computer so you can play a video game. Doing so for 20 minutes helped people reduce stress by as much as 54 percent in a Journal of CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation study. "Casual video games"—those that are fun, quick to access, and easy to learn—"create a mental distraction from your problems," says Carmen V. Russoniello, Ph.D., a study coauthor and the director of the Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Just pick a game that doesn't make you so competitive that it riles you up, or you could reverse the benefits of playing.

5. Score a yoga buzz just by breathing.
It's no secret that meditation, prayer, and yoga can chill you out. All of those practices bring about what's called the relaxation response: a calming of mind and body that can actually decrease the expression of certain genes in the body, thus lowering baseline stress.

One quick and easy way to bring that natural buzz on: Sit quietly and close your eyes. Starting with your feet and moving up through the body, allow each of your muscles to completely relax and release tension. Shrug your shoulders; roll your head and neck. Then sit at ease and breathe in and out slowly. Just 15 minutes of this a day can keep the anxiety at bay.