Stress seems almost inevitable in today’s fast-paced world, which is why we have a whole month (National Stress Awareness Month) dedicated to it.
My routine has always been to get proper rest, hang out with friends and family and explore fun and interesting hobbies.
But, if you don't have that kind of time on a daily basis, here are a few quick ways to de-stress in 12 minutes or less:
1. Dark Chocolate
Yes! Dark chocolate (the kind with more than 70 percent cocoa) is a great stress buster. Dark chocolate fights the stress hormone cortisol, and has an overall relaxing effect on the body.
Chocolate also contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which offer many health benefits. Plus, chocolate helps fight heart disease and lowers the chances of cancer.
I'll leave it to you to visualize all the wonderful things happening while you bite into a beautiful slab of your favorite brand!
Keep in mind, commercial chocolate products often contain high levels of sugar and fat, so moderation is the key to success here.
The medical community is beginning to pay a lot of attention to the many different ways meditation can physically and mentally benefit us by lowering our stress and tension levels.
There are various short meditations that can instantly de-stress you. If you don't have the time to take a class at a studio, there are some great online, guided meditations you can try.
The Isha Kriya guided meditation is an effective practice that takes 12 minutes once you get the hang of the simple instructions. UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center also offers a few audio meditations you can choose from.
Besides relieving stress, meditation also benefits us by promoting emotional well-being, increasing productivity and combating asthma, anxiety disorders and heart disease.
3. Mantras And Chants
The US Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a series of studies with US Army veterans and found that mantras and chants can help prevent burnout in stressed individuals.
The soothing sounds and music helped create a sense of calm and relaxation within the study's participants.
Their studies were conducted with the Buddhist mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum,” which takes less than six minutes to chant.
It can also be played in the background while you work and has been found to promote a sense of work satisfaction.
4. Classical Music
Studies have found that classical music can help individuals quickly recover from stressful experiences.
Listening to classical music while working also raises people's moods and improves work satisfaction.
Classical music also seems to boost IQ scores by a few points, a result called the Mozart effect. But, don't get too excited because the effect wears off within 15 minutes.
5. Green Tea
Green tea, filled to the brim with the amino acid L-theanine, can also help you shrug off a hard day at work. L-theamine has been extensively studied for its relaxing effects on the human body.
Tea, of course, also contains caffeine, which increases your heart rate and metabolism levels.
That's not a good thing if you are trying to relax, but the positive effects of L-theamine, in my opinion, offset the negative properties of caffeine.
Check out Canadian Living for a nice set of green tea recipes.
So the next time you need to cool off after a stressful meeting or missed deadline, take a short break and try one of these methods.