New Year: Pamper Yourself To Start The Year Relaxed
After the stress of the holidays, we need to take extra good care of ourselves to help us start the year right and relaxed. Relaxation comes in many forms and we have a few ideas to get you started on the path to recovery. Here are 7 ideas for pampering yourself to start the New Year relaxed.
The Fountain Of Youth
Your kids hold one of the keys to relaxation -- all you're required to do is spend time with them. While you love being around them, researchers at Kansas State University found it has a way of making parents feel less overwhelmed. Do pedicures with your daughter or put together a puzzle with your son -- you'll find that feeling good never felt this good.
Though breathing is an involuntary function, if you're deliberate about it, it can lower your blood pressure. Deep breaths slow down your heart rate. You can take this idea a step further and sit quietly while you breathe slowly. If it's difficult for you to find the time, try replacing your daily shower with a bath to block out any external stress and you can focus on you breathing without disruption.
Dogs and cats show us unconditional love and give us a reason to get out of bed in the morning, but they may do more good for your well being than you think. Having pets around actually lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress. At some college campuses, therapy dogs are available for students to visit and pet when academic pressure is crushing. Harvard Medical School actually has a dog students can check out during hard times -- just like checking out a book.
The idea of working out might be stressful for some people, but research from Princeton University shows aerobic exercise reduces stress hormone levels as well as releases endorphins. Exercise actually re-organizes your brain to make everything a little less overwhelming. So if you don't want to do those jumping jacks or hit the treadmill, use relaxation as your incentive to get moving.
Take 10 minutes to meditate. Focusing on a word or sound while relaxing each muscle in your body helps to clear the noise in your head created by stress. An adrenaline rush is a natural response to stress -- meditation is the opposite of an adrenaline rush. By using this relaxation technique, your pulse slows, blood pressure goes down, and your metabolism decelerates. You don't need any special tools, just a little bit of time and a comfortable place to sit at the office or at home, and you're on your way to being stress free.
A Good Book
If you love reading, here's some good news: it reduces stress levels by 68%, according to researchers at the University of Sussex. They found that it only takes about six minutes of reading to start feeling more relaxed with a lower heart rate, so now might be the best time to pick up some bargain books. As far as quick fixes, listening to music and taking a walk are almost as effective at calming things down.
Stroke Of Relaxation
A massage is a no-brainer when it comes to relaxation, but its positive effects may go beyond feeling good physically and turning your muscles into jelly. Researchers in Australia took a look at how massage affects anxiety, stress, and aggression and found daily massage can reduce all three -- and the results were felt almost immediately. If massage isn't a sensible activity for you, try keeping a massage ball or neck massager on hand for when things get a little too hectic.
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