With the constant hustle and bustle of twenty-first century life, it seems almost impossible to slow down and catch your breath, from school assignments and learning to drive to the ever-increasing homework load. And don’t forget to call Jessica. But while the time never really seems right to stop and take the time to replenish our own stores, this is vital to our wellbeing.
The benefits of taking a much deserved me time are endless, some of the most prominent ones include a decreased tendency towards impatience and negative mood. Better sleep, higher ability to concentrate, greater mental vigor and a reduction in depression. Furthermore, physical health benefits include a bolstered immune system, lower likelihood of headaches and a lowered chance of obesity.
Number One: Grab the Chocolate
While you may have been imagining an Aero, dark chocolate is actually what we are after here. Dark chocolate has been proven to aid in the stabilization and reduction in the stress hormone cortisol and it also helps maintain your metabolism, but you only need one block according to the Nestle Research Centre in Switzerland.
Number Two: Loosen up (and loosen your jaw) with Gum
Blow bubbles, not with a bubble wand but with chewing gum. In accordance with a study from Swinburne University, participants who chewed gum had better mental energy and a lowered state of nervousness, stress, and also had less cortisol within the saliva. So next time you need to improve the moment, maybe reach for a stick of chewing gum and lower your stress levels, while working on your smile.
Number Three: Just breathe
While breathing may not be the first thing that comes to mind, experts have found that when people stopped and focused on taking deliberate breaths, not only did their heart rates drop but their blood pressure and total cortisol levels fell considerably too.
Tehran University of Medical Sciences reported a study in which female university students who engaged in progressive relaxation, the tensing and relaxing of one muscle within the body before moving onto the next, had far lower instances of stress and reported an enhanced vigor for life.
Number Four: Shut Your Eyes
A study out of the University of Edinburgh found that individuals, who went into a dark room for a period of ten minutes after being shown new information, had far better ability to recall that information than those who had not had a period rest. This is especially crucial for students, as the study found that those who slept better and took the necessary rest periods performed better on memory tests.
What this means is if you shut your eyes and take a couple deep breaths, for just a few minutes after absorbing new information, whether that be from school or a conversation with someone, you will be able to remember the event in much greater detail and will be more able to recall the information for longer periods of time.
Number Five: Start Daydreaming
Or more specifically engage in creative visualization, this process in which you mentally view your life or your dreams occurring, or where you visualize things that make you feel happy, are said to have an immediate boost on your overall emotional state.
There is evidence out of the medical world that those who think more positively about life have healthier bodies, since their bodies release neuropeptides, which are neurotransmitters that relay messages to the entire body, they help to lower the instances of stress within the human body and enhance the immune system’s ability to fight against illness.
Number Six: Indulge in a massage or two
A study out of the Journal of Medical Investigations, found that when participants were given a hand massage they had significant reductions in stress, heart rate, became more open to developing a bond with the person who was giving them the massage and entered a state of relaxation within the nervous system. In order to do this discreetly, simply give yourself one while sitting at your desk or at lunch.
Another great way to aid your spirits is to get outside. Sunlight has been shown to enhance vitality, reduce depressive symptoms and stress, while getting in that much needed vitamin D. Another way to escape the daily dramas of life, is to find a space where you feel calm, this can be a special area at home decorated with a ton of photos and memorabilia or just under a certain tree in the park with a good picnic site.
In short, there is no need to feel stressed out anymore, so go out and indulge in your, “me time”, because you deserve it. Stop, slow down and focus on your breathing, count backwards from ten and if all of that feels like too much to bear, there is always the option of a square of dark chocolate. Why not have a more relaxing day today?
Bio: Sarah is the author of Relax Everyday, where she shares her knowledge of relaxation, massage, and essential oils. By spreading this information, she hopes to help more people achieve a healthy and balanced mind.