5 QUICK WAYS TO DE-STRESS- these 5 mini-mental exercises help you to combat stress and boost productivity

1. Strike a pose: That’s right, do your best Wonder Woman or Superman pose with arms fixed on your hips and legs shoulder width apart for 2 minutes. Or celebrate with hands raised above your head in a “V. According to research, 2 minutes is all you need to change your body chemistry to promote confidence while decreasing cortisol (stress hormone) levels. These simple poses can brighten your mood and reduce your anxiety.
2. Pictures of nature: Don’t have time to go for a walk outside? Then try this trick for your mind and body. All you have to do is spend at least 5 minutes looking at snapshots of nature and greenery to potentially see a change in your stress levels. This powerhouse mini-mental break mobilizes the calming parasympathetic nervous system leaving you feeling refreshed.
3. Listen to a song: Have a list of “feel-good songs” you can play when low on energy or feeling stressed. Rock it out for a couple of minutes when you need to. If you have some privacy, consider pairing your feel-good song with a dance party, your best air guitar, or air drumming for increased physical movement which will allow for the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine. The movement combined with the music packs an extra punch.
4. Simulated or genuine laughter: Laugh it up for a couple of minutes. Try watching a funny video clip or a scene from one of your favorite comedies. Studies show that laughter can mobilize the relaxation response in the body by decreasing stress hormones and stimulating the release of feel-good endorphins. If you can’t think of anything to help create a laugh, don’t worry—a simulated belly laugh or even holding a pencil between your teeth can be just as powerful, with the same potential yield.
5. Deep breathing/diaphragmatic breathing: Taking deep, rhythmic breaths can have immediate positive effects. Try taking in breaths through your nose to the count of five and then holding for five seconds before exhaling through pursed lips to another count of five (select a breath count that is comfortable for you). Many meditation practitioners and behavioral health experts believe deep breathing is one of the most powerful weapons in combating stress.

Katarzyna Haberko-Sandaire

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