Wellness Corner: De-Stress in Minutes a Day

   One of the biggest obstacles we have to reducing our stress is perceived lack of time. Luckily, it is possible to reduce levels of stress-related hormones and their negative effects on our brains and bodies with simple practices that take just a few minutes.
Practice breathing
   Take a deep breath through your nose counting slowly to five. Let the breath remain in your lungs for another count of five and then slowly exhale through your mouth while, once again, slowly counting to five.
   These deep breaths will re-oxygenate your blood, refresh your mind and help reduce stress-related hormones and body responses. Practice this for five cycles of breath. This can be done anywhere — relaxing at home, sitting in class, or even waiting in line.
Go for a five-minute walk
   Sometimes we overcomplicate something as simple as exercise. Whether you don’t have as much time as you’d like for fitness or you log ample time at the gym, a brisk walk outdoors might be just what you need to clear your mind and get some mood-boosting Vitamin D from being outdoors in the sunshine.
   This is especially important as the weather turns cooler and our daylight hours decrease. Exercise also helps fend off depression, boosts your immunity and helps keep you in top physical health as well.
Jam out for five minutes
   Play or listen to one of your favorite mood-boosting songs for five minutes. Studies show that music has the ability to either speed up or slow down our heart rates and respiration and has a significant impact on our moods.
   Choose something upbeat and fun to get pumped up or something mellow before going to bed or studying.
Write down five things you are grateful for
   Gratitude has immense power to shift our perspectives, help us to feel hopeful, and can help an anxious mind to feel at peace again. Write down five things you are grateful for today. Some days this will be easier than others, but it’s on the toughest days when you will see the biggest impact from this activity. Start with simple things like shelter, clean drinking water, and electricity.
Practice five minutes of mindfulness or meditation
   The science in favor of meditation’s positive effects on the mind and body is astounding. Put the benefits of this ancient practice to work for you with the following simple meditation. First, sit in a comfortable space. Use pillows or a folded blanket to feel more comfortable, or take your meditation outside on a nice day. Simply close your eyes and utilize the five count breathing to begin your quiet time. Envision a soft candle flame, bright sunshine or a gentle wave on a beach as a point of focus and continue to breath in and out slowly.
   There is no right or wrong way to meditate so simply enjoy the silence. If thoughts or worries pop in to your mind, simply observe them and then return to your breathing. You will be more effective at dealing with your to-do list later by taking time to relax your mind and body right now.


Ashley Geist-Cusik