What can you really accomplish at work in one minute flat? Read an e-mail? Write the first sentence of a memo? Untangle paper clips? But what if we told you that you could use those same 60 seconds to improve your health, lower your stress or even boost your creativity and concentration? Here’s how…
When the phone rings, take a deep, cleansing breath with the first ring. Repeat on rings two and three and then answer the phone. Sounds simplistic, but deep belly breathing can lower blood pressure, fend off depression, and induce calm. You also answer the phone with more composure, especially if you are in the middle of a chaotic day. When you are tense, you sound brusquer.
Stretch it out!
Sitting for long periods slows down circulation and causes muscle fatigue. Set your cell phone alarm for one-hour intervals that will remind you to stretch tense shoulder muscles, and ease a stiff back, hamstrings (the back of your thighs), and calves.
A common use of relaxation imagery is to imagine a scene, place, or event that you remember as safe, peaceful, restful, beautiful, and happy. Bring all your senses into the image with sounds of, say, running water and birds, the smell of cut grass, the warmth of the sun or a cool breeze and so on. Research has proved that this technique actually changes the levels of stress in your body.
Boost your brainpower
Gently squeeze a tennis/small exercise ball in your left hand to perk up brain activity in your brain’s right hemisphere. This helps boost visual creativity. Before number crunching, report reading, proof reading, or even writing a letter, use this technique on the opposite hand to tweak your left hemisphere — the one that helps you deal with digits and reading comprehension.
Stop a stiff neck
Stand against a wall, place a small pillow or a rolled up thick napkin behind your head for resistance and comfort. Pull your chin into your neck and hold for a beat. Repeat 30 times.
Try a chair stretch
Drop your head forward towards your lap and wrap your arms around your shoulders in a tight hug. This simultaneously stretches your back, neck and trapezius (neck-to-shoulder) muscles.
A bad hair day is not trivial – it blunts self esteem and undermines your confidence, say researchers. Give your hair a nice brush, tie it up into a ponytail with a colourful scarf, twist it into a knot, do what it takes to make you look good, feel good in a minute.
Completely focus your attention on the examination of an object. Look at it in immense detail; examine the shape, colour differences, texture, temperature and movement of the object. These objects can be flowers, photo frames, pictures, any flowing designs or even a screen saver. Some people have used other objects — such as alarm clocks, desk lamps or even coffee mugs equally effectively.
Get PMR to work for you
Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR) can be used to relax your body when your muscles are tense. The idea behind PMR is that you tense up a group of muscles so that they are as tightly contracted as possible. Hold them in a state of extreme tension for a few seconds. Then, relax the muscles to their previous state. Finally, consciously relax the muscles even further so that you are as relaxed as possible. Start from your feet and work upwards, ending with your face.
Your body burns more calories when the water you drink is colder than room temperature. That’s because it works harder to keep your body’s core temperature up. So throw in some ice cubes into your glass of water or tank up on cooler water.
Prevent and stop eye strain and headaches by enlarging the font size on your doc files, excel sheets etc. You should be able to read the text when you are three times farther away from your monitor than usual.
If your shoulders and back ache, bright overhead illumination could be a part of the problem. Try this test — hold a folder above your eyes like a visor. If you immediately feel a small but noticeable sense of relief, switch to a desk lamp.
Fake a breeze
Being cut off from nature (no window by your desk) can make your work area a stress pit, say Feng Shui experts. Create a calming breeze illusion by aiming a small fan at a curtain, flag or wall hanging.