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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.

    The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity? The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less

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    Last Updated on June 20, 2019

    Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

    Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

    There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

    More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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    Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

    You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

    During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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    Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

    Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

    The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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    This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

    Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

    The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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    This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

    This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

    Conclusion

    While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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    Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

    Reference

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