With our busy lives, “relax” can almost sound like a foreign word. You have to run these errands, finish this project for work, manage these responsibilities, and if you have kids, that alone can feel like a full-time job. “There’s just not enough time in the day,” you’ve maybe thought to yourself once or a thousand times. The problem is, not being able to relax leads to a build-up of stress, which causes everything from heart disease to depression. No matter how busy you are, all it can take is just a few minutes to become more calm, and more efficiently tackle the rest of your day.
Call Or Talk To Someone You Love
One of the quickest ways to increase oxytocin, the chemical often referred to as the “love hormone,” is to speak with a close friend or family member. A study from 2010 even found that using social media sites such as Facebook helped to increase the level of oxytocin in the brain. That feeling of connection helps to relax us, and it can be very beneficial to talk about your problems instead of keeping them to yourself.
Go For A Walk
Changing your environment helps to give you a different perspective, and a short walk can help to clear your mind. Exercise in general does wonders for reducing stress, and can have positive health benefits in as little as 10 minutes per day. The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America reports that people who exercised regularly were 25 percent less likely to develop an anxiety disorder or depression.
Take Time To Unplug
Technology makes it incredibly easy for us to stay connected all the time, but it also comes with major distractions. You simply don’t need to instantly respond to every text, email or notification. Every once in a while, turn off all notifications, especially when you’re out with friends and family. What matters most is what’s right in front of you, and I promise you the world will not end.
Watch Or Read Something Funny
Chances are you’ve heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Just like when talking to loved ones, laughter also helps to increase oxytocin. Listen to your favorite comedian or check your social media feeds. There’s an endless amount of funny out there to keep the laughter flowing.
When we’re stressed out, where we work and live can start to look like the inside of our head: cluttered and messy. Cleaning can be very cathartic, and a clean, organized work environment helps you be more productive thanks to being able to focus better.
There are a number of studies out there that point to major benefits of meditation. Medical News Today has a collection of such studies with the benefits reaching beyond reducing stress and anxiety, to also improving memory and the ability to learn. Thanks to Hollywood, most people think of Buddhist monks when the idea of meditation is brought up. However, you don’t have to practice a certain religion or repeat the word “om” out loud. Meditation is for anyone, and sessions as short as 10 minutes aid greatly in relaxation. In the beginning, trying to quiet the mind can be frustrating, but like anything, it just takes practice. Mindfulness In Plain English is a great book for beginners, and is free to read online.
Live More In The Now
A lot of our problems, worries and fears are based on things that either happened in the past or we think, often irrationally, could happen in the future. Meditation helps us to focus more on the present moment, and that ultimately leads to less stress. Pay more attention to the thoughts that flood your mind, and the priority you give them. The results may surprise you.