Relax: It’s good for your health

shutterstock_140001901Whether it’s caused by short-term or long-term factors, stress can take a toll on our health. Being overly anxious or stressed doesn’t just have mental effects — it has physical effects as well. The more stressed we get, the more vulnerable we are to colds, flus, and more chronic and life-threatening illnesses, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Relaxation is good for you and it doesn’t take as much time as you think. You don’t need a trip to the spa or a weekend away to de-stress. The following 10 tips will have you more relaxed in fewer than 15 minutes:

1. Drink Green Tea – The amino acid found in green tea, called L-Theanine, has been shown to have a soothing, calming effect on those who drink it. During the time it takes you to boil the water, close your eyes and try to clear your mind.

2. Don’t forget to breathe – There is no easier way to relax than by simply breathing. Slow, deep breaths help reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure. To breathe deeply, inhale slowly through your nose and feel your belly expand. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then, exhale slowly. And repeat.

3. Progressive Relaxation – This muscle relaxation technique involves tensing a group of muscles as you breathe in and relaxing them as you breathe out. Progressive relaxation is done by isolating muscle groups one at a time.

4. Stretch – Take a moment or two to stand up and stretch during your workday. Not only does it help relieve muscle tension, but it gives your mind a moment to rest as well. Try these exercises to help relieve the tension and soreness cause by working at a desk all day.

5. Take a Walk – When feeling overwhelmed, or unable to focus, taking a walk around the block provides the benefits of a moment alone to gather your thoughts and physical activity.

6. Soak in the sun – Let the sun provide some stress relief and lift your spirits. Sunlight helps boost Serotonin, a hormone that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.

7. Write it down – Putting your feelings down on paper is a therapeutic way to clear your mind and focus. It can help you clarify your thoughts, so that you can deal with what you’re feeling and move on from it.

8. Get organized – Clutter can contribute to stress. If your desk and work area is messy, take a few minutes to clean it up and leave only what you need on top.

9. Do a brain game – Crossword puzzles or Sudoku require concentration, and can help you take your mind off whatever it is that has you worried.

10. Try aromatherapy – Take a moment to drip lavender, citrus, or another essential oil into your palms, and inhale. Soothing and rejuvenating scents may help reduce stress and anxiety, and boost mood, by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect with the part of your brain that regulates emotion.

Relaxation techniques work differently for everyone, and a little bit of trial and error can help you find what works best for you.

Let our experienced SelectQuote agents take the stress out of finding life insurance, so you can set that worry aside and use the spare time to relax.

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