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Give your brain a break with 10 minutes of meditation a day


If you think it will take more than 10 minutes of meditation to calm the mind, think again. A new study has revealed that a short meditation is all you’ll need to reap the benefits of the practice, DailyMail.co.uk reports. According to researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada, just 10 minutes of meditation is enough to boost concentration, particularly for people who have anxiety who may find it harder to focus than most.

Eighty-two self-described anxious people participated in the study, performing a computer-based task while being randomly interrupted throughout. The study found that those who engaged in a quick meditation before doing the task did better than those who did not.

“Mind wandering accounts for nearly half of any person’s daily stream of consciousness. For people with anxiety, repetitive off-task thoughts can negatively affect their ability to learn, to complete tasks, or even function safely,” researcher Mengran Xu said in the DailyMail.co.uk report. “We also found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present-moment external world, which enables better focus on a task at hand.”

Meditation has had a long and time-honored reputation for promoting health and wellness. Its health benefits cover everything from alleviating chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, to reducing depression to fighting inflammatory diseases, and, evidently, to improving focus — which may be what most people need on a daily basis.

If you want to try a quick 10-minute guided meditation, HeadSpace.com recommends starting out by finding a quiet space where you can do your meditation. The routine will then involve sitting in the right position, deep breathing, checking-in with your surroundings, observing body sensations and breath patterns, 20 to 30 seconds of letting your mind run free, and finally checking back in before ending the meditation. The routine is quite simple, which only goes to show that this beneficial practice is accessible to pretty much anyone.

Quick fixes for stress

If it’s turning out to be a particularly stressful day, you may want to try more than one stress relief method. Thankfully, there are a lot of easy ways to help you overcome stress and get you through the day. Here are a few, as listed on an article on HuffingtonPost.com:

  • Go for a walk — According to the article, walking can help boost endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones. Walking in a green space is an added bonus, as it puts the body in a meditative state.
  • Eat — While stress-eating can do more harm than good, smart snacking can actually help manage the stress, thanks to the gut-brain connection. Choosing healthy snacks such as fruits or nuts and taking time and focus to eat them can actually be very relaxing.
  • Take a tech break – The article cited a study from the University of Gothenburg that shows how uninterrupted computer use is connected to stress, among other things. Taking even a few minutes away from your computer throughout the day may help keep your stress levels in check.
  • Kiss — This may be office taboo, but if you can afford to do so, kissing is very helpful when it comes to de-stressing. Like walking, it releases stress-fighting endorphins.
  • Try acupressure  Specifically, apply gentle pressure to the space between your pointer and middle fingers. Touching this point will help ease any nervous feelings.
  • Go for some music therapy — Classical music has been known to have both soothing and focus-boosting effects. But any kind of music, as long as you love it, can trigger the production of dopamine, which elevates the mood.

Aside from these simple activities, getting adequate sleep every night and eating a well-balanced diet of whole foods can keep you from crumbling under the effects of chronic stress.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

HeadSpace.com

HuffingtonPost.com

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