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45-Second De-Stress Tips

45-Second De-Stress Tips

    If you’re anything like me, you wake up in the morning, hit the ground running, work through lunch, and only stop thinking about your job when your head hits the pillow. So, needless to say, I occasionally have days where I’m stressed out of my mind.

    According to Dr. Paul J. Rosch, the president of the American Institute of Stress, ”Americans increasingly seem to be living life in the fast lane. A better understanding of the harm that stress can cause, as well as the possibility of some benefits, would help an increasing number of people.”

    You may think that your day is too jam-packed with meetings and events to find the time for relaxation…and you’d be wrong. Believe it or not, you can take measures to reduce your stress levels that will only take 45 seconds of your time. Here are ten tips that can help you de-stress in record time.

    1. Read a Poem

    Take 45 seconds to savor a single haiku, or read over your favorite sonnet. Beautiful language can really twist your mind in a way that helps to push away the cares of the day.

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    And even if poetry isn’t really your thing, you might find enjoyment in reading something with a humorous bent. Think Shel Silverstein, Ogden Nash, or Dr. Seuss.

    2. Blow Off Some Steam

    Get up and get moving, just for the amount of time it takes to hum a couple rounds of “Happy Birthday”. If you can burn off some of that nervous energy, you’ll feel energized, refreshed, and far more mentally capable of handling the stresses of your day.

    If you can get some sun in during those precious few seconds, so much the better. Never underestimate the power of fresh air and sunshine to improve your mood.

    3. Follow Your Nose

    I’ve written about the benefits of aromatherapy in a previous post here, and I’m still impressed by the speed with which a single sniff of perfume can change my mood. If you don’t have essential oils on hand, peel an orange at your desk and crush the rind in your hand to release the scent of the orange. Orange is a great scent to help you feel energized and rejuvenated.

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    4. Elevate Your Brain

    Meditate, pray, commune with nature…whatever works for you. Take a few moments to center yourself, open your mind, and get spiritual…if that sort of thing is helpful for you.

    5. Pump Your Jam

    There’s a reason that sporting arenas play songs when introducing the starting lineup for a sports team. The right song can change your outlook on life in under 45 seconds. The trick is to find a song snippet that works for you.

    Maybe it’s the “Tro lo lo” guy, something off a Jock Jams compilation album, or the over-the-top intro to “The Final Countdown”. Alternatively, maybe a snippet of something classical would be better for calming you. It comes down to personal preference, and exactly what about your day has got you so stressed out.

    6. Don’t Forget to Breathe

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    Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Slowly. Repeat. Make sure the breaths are steady and full.

    It’s just that simple.

    7. Chuckle

    Hit the randomizer button on your favorite web comic, engage in cube warfare with a co-worker, or check out a website that offers a “Joke of the Day” service. Laughter really is the best medicine, and if you can laugh away the stress, your outlook for the rest of the day will be a lot more rosy.

    8. Organize

    Sometimes the best way to tackle stress is to clean house and get organized. Set up a new email filter, organize your paperwork, clean the clutter off your desk, or something along those lines. When you have all your ducks in a row, so to speak, your workload will seem a lot more manageable.

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    9. Snuggle Up

    Get cuddly with a pet, a blanket, a favorite sweater….anything soft that you stroke with your fingertips. Just like Lenny in “Of Mice and Men”, most people find that they reach their “happy place” when touching something soft like fur or textiles. Scratching a dog or cat behind the ears can help to quickly lower your blood pressure…if there aren’t any pets allowed in your office, try carrying a lucky rabbit’s foot.

    10. Chow Down

    Eating or drinking helps to relax us. That’s why we give pacifiers to babies. Just try to make sure you’re making smart food choices (ie, choose a crunchy apple over a bag of potato chips).

    Conclusion

    There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Stress management is an incredibly important tool, and the more techniques you can master to lower your blood pressure, the better. With just 45 seconds, you can de-stress and re-focus your mind to maximize your productivity.

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

    To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

    Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

    1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

    Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

    Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

    To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

    Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

    If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

    Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

    3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

    Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

    Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

    4. Feed Your Brain

    Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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    This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

    Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

    Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

    5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

    According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

    Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

    Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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    6. Write it Down

    If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

    It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

    You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

    7. Listen to Music

    Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

    8. Visual Concepts

    In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

    Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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    Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

    9. Teach Someone Else

    Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

    Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

    10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

    Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

    So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

    Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

    More About Boosting Memory

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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