These mental tweaks help cheery types live longer, stay healthier, and even look younger.
To banish worries, put stressors on paper. Writing them down and stashing the note in a “worry jar” (or a drawer) makes it easier to compartmentalize and move on, says Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., a psychologist in Washington, D.C. Limiting anxiety is healthy. A surfeit of the stress hormone cortisol may lead to chronic pain, depression, cognitive issues and even heart problems, potentially shortening your life. Not to mention that constant worry is no fun.
Keep Your Sunny Side Up
Optimists live longer, plain and simple. In a 15-year study of more than 100,000 women, cheery types were 14 percent less likely to die in an eight-year period than gloomy gals were, the National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative finds. To change your thinking, visualize a happy moment: “Imagining yourself in a hammock on the beach can have an immediate, relaxing effect on the body that makes it more difficult to stay focused on the negative,” Bonior says.
If All Else Fails, Take a Nap
When life starts getting you down, catch 40 winks. If you’re stressed out, a 45-minute daytime snooze may lower your blood pressure, a study from Allegheny College reports. Siestas also help you catch up on much-needed sleep. That’s crucial, because chronic sleep deprivation can cause aging at the cellular level. So give yourself permission to nap like a kid. We predict you’ll start feeling like one, too.
Your Relaxation Rx
Which mind / body treatments have the most rock-solid science backing them up? Brent Bauer, M.D., director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, provides the big picture.
For: Back pain Try: Yoga
For: High cholesterol Try: Qigong
For: Depression Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga
For: Eating disorders Try: Meditation, yoga
For: Fertility Try: Visualization, yoga
For: Heart health Try: Deep breathing, qigong, yoga
For: Immunity Try: Breathing, chants, meditation, qigong
For: Insomnia Try: Acupuncture, visualization, yoga
For: Joint pain Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga
For: Migraines Try: Acupuncture, yoga
The latest cutting-edge research proves your mind can heal your body. Here’s how:
Your body dials down stress. Dr. Benson’s research has found that mind/body practices—meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, visualization—all elicit the relaxation response, quelling the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Your heart slows, blood pressure falls and digestion eases.
The relaxation response causes cells to release micropuffs of nitric oxide, a gas that dilates blood vessels and stabilizes the immune system, Dr. Benson reported in Medical Science Monitor. Mind/body methods worked as well as drugs designed to do the same thing, without the side effects.
Over the past few seades, the role of women in society has changes sihnificntly.As more and women enter the work force and juggle career and families, the need for quick, de-stressing strategies is greater than ever before. Here are some relaxation recniques. Just choose your pick…
• Take frequent, short breaks from work, whether that is from housework. Also from husband and children!
• Take a trip to the beauty parlour ( and get yourself a pedicure, manicure, or a massage!)
• Take up knitting ! Seriously, like meditation or prayer, knitting allows for the passive release of stray thoughts. The rhythmic and repetitive quality of knitting, together with the sound of needles clicking, is akin to a calming mantra. The mind can wander, while still focusing on one task.
• Exercise ! you’ve heard it before, but aerobic activities such as swinning, cycling, walking are soothing.
• Count your blessings every single day and be grateful.
• Take a few moments everyday to “be in awe of nature”, watch a sunset, appreciate trees and flowers, gaze at the stars, listen to the sounds of waves, and the chirping of birds…
• Get an aquarium. Gazing at ponds and aquariums with various fish reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.
• Take the time to listen to your favourite music.
• Eat healthy andss sleep well.
• Do Yoga and Meditation daily.