Do you have a hard time relaxing? We'll teach you how to unwind! Try these five wacky ways to relax on this National Relaxation Day.
The positive health effects of relaxation are seemingly endless, spanning from reducing blood pressure and heart rate to improving concentration and reducing feelings of anger and frustration. We all need to take a break from the stresses of everyday life, and luckily you don't need to be a yoga aficionado to unwind. Read on to learn some interesting ways to kick back and relax.
1. Eat (and sniff) citrus fruits. A study published in Psychology Today called vitamin C a ‘stress buster’ because of its ability to prevent a spike in anxiety-inducing cortisol. Snacking on citrus fruit or taking a vitamin C supplement can lessen your physical and psychological reactions to stress and help you unwind. Even just the smell of these acidic fruits may be enough to reduce anxiety (as well as help with digestion)!
2. Take a stroll outside. Studies have found that when we exercise outside, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol are reduced more significantly than when we work out indoors at the gym or on the treadmill. Plus you may get an added boost of energy – some research suggests that just being in nature reduces exhaustion and increases your get-up-and-go!
3. Take some time to check out the fishies. Ever wondered why there are always fish tanks in your doctor’s or dentist’s office? Research conducted by the Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory and Clinic found that only five minutes of contact with aquariums, or other nature-like features, significantly decreased feelings of stress, anger, fear and other unpleasant emotions.
4. Listen to some music. A study published in Nature found that music could elicit feelings of euphoria and intense pleasure in the human brain. Music increases the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that plays an important role in relaxation by decreasing the production of stress hormones. We may also look to our favorite playlists when we’re feeling stressed or need a moment of peace.
5. Meditate. OK, so this isn't a wacky way to relax, but it's one that's almost guaranteed to work. Meditation is a scientifically proven way to reduce stress and negative emotions in the body according to the Mayo Clinic. When you meditate, which can be accomplished through guided meditation or other forms such as yoga or Tai Chi, be sure to dim the lights and set a soothing atmosphere. A study by the Japanese National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that natural light is actually proven to improve one’s mood. Try turning back the curtain, getting comfortable on your yoga mat and letting the relaxation begin!