Long Life and Health
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Mental Health

Do This 10 Minutes a Day to Reduce Stress!

In the relentless rhythm of modern life, stress often feels like an unwelcome companion, doggedly clinging to our every move. From the buzzing notifications on our phones to the perpetual deadlines looming over our heads, it seems as though the world conspires to keep us in a perpetual state of tension. Yet, amidst this whirlwind of chaos, there exists a beacon of hope, and it can take you less than 10 minutes a day!

Here are five tried and true methods that can help you reduce stress – and all of them take 10 minutes or less!

  1. Chew gum

Chewing has been shown to reduce stress and improve focus by increasing blood flow to the brain. And sugar-free gum is a healthier substitute for nervous habits like nail-biting, smoking and snacking. 

  1. Drink tea

Black, white, green, rooibos — many tea varieties have a positive impact on stress and health. Antioxidants fight inflammation, while tannins soothe digestion. But what makes unsweetened tea a first-rate stress reliever is the dual action of caffeine and an amino acid called theanine. Tea’s low caffeine level boosts your focus, while theanine acts as a sedative. The result is a relaxed alertness that keeps you going during that mid-afternoon slump — also known as “tea time.” 

  1. Get outside more

A new book called The Nature Fix explains the latest research into the human need for “nature contact.” Nature walks have been shown to lower stress levels and clear the mind, unrelated to any aerobic benefits. Even the suggestion of natural settings can trigger a similar (though less intense) response. A 10-minute walk in the park at lunch can refresh your outlook after a tough morning in the office. If getting outside isn’t possible, sit next to a sunny window — and perhaps plan your next vacation to a national park.

  1. Practice good “scents”

Fragrance can have a powerful effect on mood. Lavender is best known for its sedative powers and has been used as a remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and pain for hundreds of years. If you can find fresh lavender, fold it into a piece of scrap cloth to make a sachet. Stash it in a pocket or purse, and inhale the scent when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can also breathe in the scent of lavender essential oil, often sold in tiny bottles.

Not a fan of lavender? Other scents with reputed stress-fighting properties include peppermint, jasmine, chamomile, and citrus. Our sense of smell is closely connected to memory, so a cherished scent from childhood — your mother’s perfume or baby shampoo — may also provide relief. 

Pay attention to your breathing

By shifting from unconscious to conscious breathing, you can take control of your stress response. Awareness of our breathing helps to rebalance the body and mind. 

You do not have to worry about any specific “rhythmic breathing” technique; all it takes is to simply notice how it feels to inhale and exhale. Notice where you feel your breath: at your lips or nostrils, in your chest or belly. Your breathing may be deep or shallow, smooth or choppy. Paying mindful attention to the breath has been shown to slow the heartbeat and lower blood pressure, which will help you feel less stressed.

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