4 Easy Ways To Calm Your BrainSeptember 16 2019
Find out how you can feel happier and stress-free.
Dr Amit Sood has advice that can up your stress-reducing game, based on the successful resilience program he runs at the Mayo Clinic, in the US. Here are four of his brain-focused and research-based strategies that work in just minutes a day.
Give your brain some RUM
That stands for Rest, Uplifting emotions and Motivation. You need all three to help energise your brain and head off fatigue. So when you’re engaged in a task, take three to five minutes every couple of hours (or sooner, if you start getting fidgety) and pause for RUM.
How-to Get up from your computer, or stop what you’re doing, and look at photos of your kids or your favourite holiday spot, read inspiring quotes, text or call a friend, or watch a happy short video. Choose an activity that makes you feel good and is motivating.
Begin a morning gratitude practice
Take control of your brain before it gets hijacked by the day’s concerns, and greet the morning in a happier, more connected frame of mind.
How-to When you first wake up, before you get out of bed, spend a few minutes thinking of some people who care about you, and silently send them your gratitude. Another reason it’s a good idea: a recent study found that anticipating a stressful day when you first wake up affects your working memory later that day – even if nothing stressful actually happens. (Working memory is what helps you learn things and retain them, even when you’re distracted.)
Be mindfully present
Meditation is a great stress reliever, but not everyone can sit still, looking inward, for 20-plus minutes. Good news for the fidgety: research shows that focusing your attention outward uses the same brain network, so you can get similar stress-easing benefits by consciously giving the world your attention.
How-to Challenge yourself to be curious and notice details – the colour of the barista’s eyes at the coffee shop, the pattern of your boss’s shirt, which flowers are blooming in your street. Curiosity feeds the brain’s reward network, making you feel good. It also augments memory and learning.
Focus on kindness
Even the nicest among us are quick to judge others, especially if they’re different from us (thank the amygdala, a region of the brain that interprets difference as a threat).
How-to To calm the amygdala, focus on two things when you’re feeling judgy about someone: that every person is special, and that everyone has struggles. Start a practice of sending silent good wishes to people you pass on the street or in the lifts at work. The benefits for you are: your oxytocin, the hormone of connectedness, rises; your heart rate slows; and you feel more benevolent. All of which makes you healthier and happier.
Sourced from Prevention.
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