How two easy activities can help you chill out (and feel better)June 9, 2017
We get it. Life is hectic.
Work deadlines. Personal to-dos. Finding a moment to simply have “me” time can be a Herculean effort.
But, you’re in luck — with these two proven techniques you can try to relax your mind and body throughout your crazy-busy week. You may even be surprised at how you feel.
Technique 1: Breathe: 3 in, 3 out
Did you know we take as many as 23,040 breaths in a day?
Aside from keeping your heartbeat beating, your breath can help you relax. Don’t believe us? Research proves it.
One of six relaxation techniques suggested by the Harvard Medical School in the 1970s focused on deep breathing. Dr. Herbert Benson found long, slow, deep breaths lower a person’s stress response (commonly called “fight or flight”) — invoking a “relaxation response.”
Beyond modern science, breath work is an age-old practice positively affecting mind and body, like lowering your blood pressure.
That’s because as you breathe your mind disengages from disrupting thoughts and sensations. Instead, you’re focused on the task at hand: your breath.
So, why mess with success? Try it out:
- Sit up in your chair
- Close your eyes
- Then take one big breath in and a big breath out to the count of three Minnesota’s
- Feel yourself start to calm down
Technique 2: Reflect: Meditate to elevate your mood
For many of us, we forget to take time to pause and reflect on the good stuff in our lives.
Our mind instead churns through “bad” thoughts, sometimes creating a negative cycle of feelings and emotions.
Press the reset button. Confront your stress with meditation, or the act of simply reflecting to quiet the mind. You’ll start to reverse your stress response — helping to lower the effects of chronic stress in your life.
There are many types of meditation. One type uses guided imagery, which refocuses your energy on a picture you find relaxing, like being seated along a babbling brook or atop a lush green mountain.
Do it when you need a blissful moment:
- Take a seat, close your eyes and envision your happy place
- As your mind focuses on this picture, start to imagine the senses you feel
- Maybe it’s the brush of the wind along a lake, or the sound of water crashing up against the shore
- Simply take it in and allow yourself to be one with your breath and heartbeat
Practice makes perfect
Consistency will get you the most bang for your buck when using these techniques. Need a reminder to stay on track? The Blue Cross do.® app uses simple activities and reminders to help you perfect these techniques. Under the do. chill’s section, you can breathe, meditate and reflect with simple activities.
Now, find a comfy spot, sit upright and simply “be”.
do.® is a registered trademark of Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota, a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.