Are you looking for some quick and useful tips to refresh your mind and reboot your brain? Do you want to clear your mind of confusion, indecision, overthinking, worrying, and get back to your work with a fresh focus?
If we don’t regularly tend to our body and mind, we run a risk of falling prey to several stress-fuelled physical illnesses (called psychosomatic illnesses). We feel burned out, fatigued, indecisive, and anxious throughout the day. So, as science suggests, we better free up a few minutes every day to rejuvenate our minds and relax our bodies.
To quickly refresh your mind and reduce stress, studies suggest meditating, exercising, walking outside to breathe the fresh oxygen, pursuing pleasurable activities like singing, dancing, painting, listening to one’s favorite music, taking a nap, and avoiding social media use. Certain yoga poses are also effective.
10 Useful Tips To Refresh Your Mind From Stress
So, if you’re ready to kick out the stress from your life and refresh your mind, read these carefully plucked tips. This will help you lead a more positive and healthy life, successfully cope with anxiety.
Here are 10 helpful tips from experts to refresh your mind from stress:
Tip #1. Practice Belly Breathing
People who practice deep breathing exercises observe a considerable lowering of anxiety. There’s a scientific explanation. Slow and deep breathing stimulates our wandering nerve (scientifically called the vagus nerve). It releases an anti-stress chemical called acetylcholine. Now acetylcholine, the chief neurotransmitter of our parasympathetic system, slows down our heart and relaxes us.
A quick three-step way to do belly breathing exercise is:
- Lie down on your back. Place your right hand over your belly. Place your left hand on your chest.
- Draw in a deep breath through your nose so your belly rises and lifts your right hand. Now hold your breath for 4 to 5 seconds. Then exhale through your mouth making your belly (and your hand) fall in.
- Throughout the breathing cycle, try to keep your left still, making sure your chest isn’t rising or falling with your breaths. For maximum benefit, repeat it throughout the day for up to 10 minutes each day.
Here is a a little more detailed info on ➜ How To Do Belly Breathing.
Tip #2. Do This Yoga Pose
Yoga experts are fond of saying that relaxation is a conscious endeavor that lies somewhere between effort and non-effort.
In yoga, you consciously relax your body muscles. In this state of alert relaxation, you are not in the grip of automatic muscle tension. Your muscles are relaxed, yet they can take commands from your brain to move at will.
Shavasana, or the Corpse Pose Asana, is an especially effective pose for deep relaxation. Usually done at the end of a yoga session, it helps reduce blood pressure and anxiety. But you can do it any time of the day, without going through a session of yoga exercises.
Here’s how to do the Shavasana (Corpse Pose Asana):
- Lie down flat on your back with your arms and legs spread slightly apart. Close your eyes and take a few relaxing breaths.
- Focus on one part of your body and relax it. You may start with your toes and gradually relax your whole feet. Move your focus to your ankles, lower legs, and knees. Relax them.
- Keep going up into the next body part until you relax your whole body. All through, keep breathing unhurriedly. Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 minutes. Then open your eyes, sit up, stretch your arms, take a deep breath, and stand up.
Tip #3. Eat Healthy Food (Mediterranean Diet)
Now, who eats unhealthy foods by choice? But bear with us on this. We have jam-packed this section with some interesting and useful facts from science!
Studies have found a strong relationship between what we eat and how our brain performs. A healthy, nutritious diet helps keep our moods stable. It allows our mental faculties to function optimally.
▪ Researchers found a Mediterranean diet may improve cognitive output in elderly people at high risk of heart disease. The antioxidant-rich Mediterranean diet comes packed with polyphenols.
▪ Some foods, like alcohol and caffeine, stir up anxiety-causing neurochemicals in the body. While some other foods release the brain chemicals that bring a sense of peace and content. Researchers say these foods can have a relaxing effect on your mind ➜ avocados, blueberries, and green tea.
▪ Research has also found our levels of corticosterone, the stress hormone, come down when we eat comfort food. This is what happens. Stress increases our blood levels of glucose and insulin and reduces triglycerides. But eating comfort foods increases our glucose, triglyceride, and leptin levels.
▪ Artificial sweeteners like aspartame block the delivery of important amino acids to the brain. This leads to lowered levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Later on, this induces anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, and headaches.
▪ Alcohol is a known central nervous system depressant (not a stimulant). It helps you go to sleep early on, but later on, it gives you a fractured sleep through the night. As a result, you get up groggy and tired in the morning. By the way, do you know about the six scientific sleep hacks?
▪ Food also affects sleep. It also influences our mental state during waking hours. Studies show those who sleep less are more likely to consume energy-dense foods—like fats and refined carbohydrates. Sleep-deprived people also eat fewer portions of vegetables and have more irregular meal patterns.
▪ A study of 80 older people fed on melatonin-rich cow milk (that is, milk drawn at nighttime) found they were more active the next morning. This hinted they had better and more restful sleep the night before.
▪ Rondanelli found a concoction of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc can improve sleep. In their study, they gave it to 43 old people who were insomniac, daily for 8 weeks, 1 hour before bedtime. They found it improved their sleep quality and total sleep time.
An excellent way to use food for refreshing the mind ➜ Eat your food mindfully.
Tip #4. Listen To Relaxing Music or Natural Sounds
You might prefer listening to rock or pop or metal or grunge. But nothing works better than some peaceful, soothing tunes for relaxing yourself. Such music calms your mind, studies show. Plus, it can divert your focus away from stress.
Recently, researchers from three universities—Michigan State, Carleton, and Colorado State—partnered with the National Park Service. They analyzed 18 studies on how natural sounds can impact human health.
The results of the study were published in the May 2021 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It shows listening to existing noises in nature has positive effects on our minds. It can decrease stress and pain, improve cognitive performance, and enhance our mood.
Music decreases our anxiety levels and lowers systolic BP. Research on 55 university students revealed music listening was effective in reducing stress. However, they found that the most powerful effects of music were when “relaxation” was the reason for music listening.
For maximum effect, listen to natural sounds, and start with an intention to relax.
In addition to calming music, you may also listen to white noise that is specially designed to aid people to feel more relaxed and stress-free. Alternatively, you could try listening to the natural sounds such as the noise of the forest, chirping of birds, sound of flowing water, and traffic hum.
Binaural beats are an exceptional kind of sound that generates a greater number of specific brain waves. The alpha pattern of binaural beats, especially, is known to enhance relaxation.
In an experiment, patients were given to listen to binaural beat audio just before they went into cataract surgery, to find out if it had any effect on their operative anxiety. Researchers found that it reduced their heart rates more than those who listened to plain music or no music.
Tip #5. Get Some Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is an effective remedy to de-stress your life. Physically fit people show reduced cardiovascular and neurohormonal responses to psychosocial stress, as compared to those who are unfit.
To find out how exercise makes you happier, click the pic below:
Physical training raises our resilience to stress-causing situations. Rats have been shown to have reduced startle response and lower anxiety when they were earlier trained on a treadmill, as compared to sedentary ones. The researchers concluded that endurance training helps grow resilience and recovery from stress.
Regular exercise may also have an antidepressant effect. It does this by protecting us from being bogged down by chronic stress. As we know, depression is often a disorder of our increased reactivity to stress.
By the way, exercise also increases your lifespan. Those who walk briskly for 150+ min/week can increase their life expectancy by 3.4 – 4.5 years, whatever their body weight.
Failing to exercise regularly? Steal this: How To Make Exercise A Daily Habit!
Tip #6. Spend Time With Cute Animals
A Japanese study showed that people who frequently looked at pictures of cute animals had lower levels of stress and anxiety, and also had improved moods.
As per the other studies, people who often interact with animals have lower blood pressure and are less stressed than those who rarely get in contact with animals. So, you could get yourself a puppy or a kitten, play with your friend’s cat, or take your neighbor’s dog for a walk.
If you still aren’t feeling calm, then you might opt for animal-assisted psychotherapy—a rehabilitation especially used for diminishing stress and worries using animals like a cat, a dog, or a horse.
Tip #7. Distract Yourself
Practicing your hobbies is a great way to take your mind’s focus away from stress and anxiety. Here are some distracting activities that can calm and refresh your mind:
Try painting, sketching, or even doodling an image. You’ll definitely get compelled to concentrate on making the drawing while pulling yourself away from thinking about the causes of your stress.
For some, weaving bracelets or knitting sweaters is another great way to divert the focus from the stressors.
Tip #8. Avoid Stressful Acts
One of the worst things to prevent you from refreshing the mind from stress: social media.
Social media platforms can indeed induce stress. Facebook use can cause envy and depression. Social scientists working at Facebook wrote in a blog post that passively scrolling through a Facebook feed can harm a person’s mood and mental health.
A German study by Brailovskaia and Margraf found Facebook users score much higher on narcissism, self-esteem, and extroversion than those who don’t use the platform. Surprisingly, the users were also found to have higher values of social support, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness.
So, be it spending time on your Instagram or WhatsApp-chatting with your friends, try not to spend excessive time on your social media apps. Besides the cell phone, also aim to shut off the television, and close down your laptop or computer.
Many people find tech-free time makes them feel relaxed. We’re sure you might be pleasantly surprised too if you go on an occasional digital detox. A digital detox is a self-imposed act of refraining from using digital devices like smartphones and computers and avoiding social media platforms.One of the worst things that can prevent you from refreshing your mind from stress: social media. Click To Tweet
Tip #9. Hang Out With Your Loved Ones
Stress often disrupts our social lives. When we are under excessive stress or prolonged stress, we often hesitate to interact with our social acquaintances. We become hostile and irritable, and finally, pull ourselves away.
Nonetheless, when stressed out, being alone and away from a friend or loved one can raise our stress levels because then we are more likely to concentrate on stressors. Instead, spending more time with our family and friends can help us reduce stress and find better ways to cope with it.
Research has shown that social support not only reduces stress levels but also lessens the feeling of pain when a hand is dipped in ice-cold water.
And finally, hugs help refresh your mind from stress!
Tip #10. Take Yourself On A Vacation, Even If Solo
According to some recent surveys and reports, when stressful, a vacation refreshes your mind from stress. You are more likely to forget your stressors while on holiday than when in your daily setting.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that there is indeed a thing called the “vacation effect”. Their study showed everyone could benefit from a vacation, both physically and psychologically.
You can plan an outing with your friends in some peaceful places. It’s best if you visit a location where you can connect with nature because it will help you recover fast from your stressed mind.
There are scientific reasons why traveling makes us happier; find out here.
Final WordsIf you think you can cope with your #stress, then stress will not have too much of an adverse effect on you. Click To Tweet
Reading the above tips, you would have made up your mind to kick the stress out of your life.
So, why wait for a day of peace to dawn on you? When can you start practicing the listed activities, say goodbye to anxiety, and refresh your brain?
Of course, those hard-to-face days come at some point in our lives. When they do, instead of facing the challenges positively, most of us build up a fearful and stressful attitude towards them.
But there is a way out, as science suggests. It is also worth noting that training your mind to stay calm isn’t too complicated a task when you know the right steps.
When it comes to stress, how you cope with it is more important than how it came about. If you believe you can handle your stress, then it won’t affect you as much as those who think their burdens are unbearable.
To cope better with your stress, check out these 10 Effective Strategies To Reduce Stress.
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Authors’ Bio: Jennifer Branett is an aspiring entrepreneur who writes on healthcare, home improvement, personal finance, art, fitness, and more. She hopes to continue her journey of self-fulfillment and self-discovery while adding value to people’s lives. Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes popular science articles on happiness, positive psychology, and related topics.
• Our story: Happiness Project
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