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8 Simple Relaxation Techniques To Help Reduce Stress In Your Busy Life

8 Simple Relaxation Techniques To Help Reduce Stress In Your Busy Life

In spite of the technological advances the modern era has brought us, people are now more stressed out than before. Therefore, the need to reduce stress in our lives is now more important than ever. We must take responsibility for overcoming the challenges caused by our own, busy lifestyles; otherwise, we may suffer from the following symptoms of stress and can impact our health and productivity:

• fatigue
• lack of Sleep
• anxiety
• lack of Motivation
• depression

Fortunately, there are a number of simple yet effective relaxation techniques that can be mastered in a few minutes, whether you do them when you wake up, after work, or during limited breaks. Here are eight examples:

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1. Undertake Light Yoga

Yoga is a diverse hobby and includes numerous poses and stretches that are designed to develop flexibility, suppleness, and mental focus. By learning a selection of poses and practicing these on a daily basis (between 15 and 20 minutes), you can actively reduce stress while maintaining clarity of thought.

2. Breathe Deeply

Deep breathing is actually a basic yoga pose, and is known to lower cortisol levels and alleviate anxiety. The key is to breathe slowly and through your nose, while maintaining your center of gravity throughout to optimize results.

3. Laugh Regularly

Laughter actually releases endorphins into the brain, which help counteract high levels of stress and the onset of fatigue. You can benefit from this by enjoying the company of friends, or watching 10 to 30 minutes of comedy on a daily basis whenever the opportunity arises.

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4. Drink Black Tea on a Daily Basis

A recent study revealed that the consumption of black tea dramatically lowers post-stress cortisol levels, while also creating a relaxed and centered mood. Simply make this your regular morning and evening drink and gradually reap the benefits.

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5. Try Guided Visualization

According to sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus (PhD), guided visualization is a technique that reduces stress by triggering a relaxation response in the muscles. Simply lie on your back or recline in a comfortable chair, before visualizing a relaxing scene that is relevant to you and focusing on this intently. Along with controlled breathing, this can block negative thoughts and force your body to release tension.

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6. Consider Self-Hypnosis

There are similar techniques that can also induce a self-hypnotic state, which utilizes meditation and the sub-conscious mind to aid stress-relief. You will need to recline in a quiet and undisturbed space while gradually training your mind to avoid common distractions and negative thoughts.

7. Indulge Your Creative Urges

When we engage the creative part of our brains, we begin to focus on something constructive. This takes our mind off intrusive thoughts and has been adapted into a form of self-help therapy. It is also proven to reduce stress-related conditions, so try to identify a vehicle for your creative passion and start a project that you can work on for a few minutes at a time.

8. Make Physical Contact with Loved Ones Whenever Possible

Not only does regular physical contact remind us that we are not alone, but it’s also something that we can use during the normal course of our day. Different types of contact also offer various benefits: Hugging is capable of reducing blood pressure, and a simple kiss is known to release chemical agents that alleviate hormonal deficiencies and lower cortisol levels.

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This also reinforces the benefit of forming positive relationships. Like our other examples, it is a simple technique that can alleviate stress and enhance the quality of your life.

Find the content useful to you? Click into the goal box below for more time-saving and effortless tips on exercise and diets. By taking this simple act, living a healthy life is no longer a mission impossible for you!

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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