Spend 5 Minutes in Nature
According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in 2019, just five simple minutes sitting in nature, improves mood, decreases negative feelings and increases your sense of awe and wonder at being a part of something bigger than yourself. If you have more time, combine being in nature with exercise. This can reduce your heart rate and improve your ability to recover from stressful events.
Bring the Outdoors In
Feeling overwhelmed and can’t leave the building? Hang paintings of nature scenes on the walls, look out a window or at a nature scene on your video device. It seems that even the picture of nature had the potential to reduce feelings of stress.
Break Out That Adult Colouring Book
Can’t absorb any new information? Take a break and take out the adult colouring book you have not taken the time to use. This distraction gives the brain the space it needs to tackle the problem while you focus on the joy of choosing the colours that make you feel better. Pro tip: Choose yellow and other bright colours if you need a pick-me-up.
Incorporate Natural Mid-Afternoon Boosts
Grab some green tea. It is high in antioxidants, contains a small amount of caffeine and also has an ingredient that can help create a sense of calmness. If you combine this with a little aromatherapy, either peppermint or lemon for a quick lift or lavender to keep the calm going, you might find yourself feeling better after a quick ten-minute break.
Quick Exercises to Do
at Your Desk
Here are two quick exercises that help to release stress and restore a sense of calm while improving mood. Do any exercise that helps bring the heartrate up a little bit to get blood pumping while also releasing the energy of frustration. First, do some quick tricep extensions using a chair. Then follow with a stretch that helps to relieve the tension. Shrug shoulders up to your ear and gently rotate forward then backwards. Follow this with an open arm stance, open wide and slightly raised as if to open yourself up to receive warmth, love and support. Then simply cross your arms around your shoulders and give yourself a hug. Cross your arms until you feel the muscles in your upper back gently stretch to start relieving some of that built up tension. After all, we do tend to carry a lot of stress in the upper back and neck. Bonus, hugs help to relieve stress and improve mood.
Laugh and Breathe
It is as simple as laughing. It decreases cortisol levels and improves mood. A simple way to do this is to watch a funny video clip or even more simple, record a baby’s laughter and listen to it. That sound of pure joy and wonder can bring a smile back to your face and do wonders for your mood. Lastly, practice stopping and breathing. Four counts in, hold for four and release for four. Do this about four times and feel the stress slowly ebb away.
Eudene Harry MD is the medical director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is a veteran physician with more than 20 years of experience. Dr. Harry earned her medical degree and performed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University.
Dr. Harry is the author of three books designed to empower individuals to get started on their path to optimal health. She has published extensively on the topics of reducing stress, healthy lifestyle choices, and regaining youthfulness. Her most recent book, Be Iconic: How to be Healthy and Sexy at Any Age is now available on Amazon. She regularly contributes to television and radio shows nationwide.
To learn more about Dr. Harry visit, www.drharrymd.com.