by Lexi Petronis
Robert Mitra Feeling exhausted and stressed? Join the club! According to a 26-year study by Carnegie Mellon University, women tend to be the most stressed people in the United States. Well, awesome.
But there's good news! You can actually revive and de-stress by working out a very important part of your body: your brain. bLife--a wellness tech company that has just developed a personalized fitness program for your mind--has tips for doing just that.
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Focus: How well are you able to focus on what's happening right this second?
Why it's important: Recent studies from Harvard University have suggested that a wandering mind is an unhappy one.)
The workout: bLife's Meg Moore, a scientific advisor, suggests taking an "intentional pause" every so often in order to truly be aware of how you're feeling in that moment. Concentrate on breathing deeply. Look for interesting patterns around you and snap them with your phone. Pick one sense and try to use it as much as you can--for example, be aware of the scents that you come across throughout the course of your day.
Positivity: How optimistic are you--and do you regularly express gratitude?
Why it's important: According to bLife, positive approaches to life help reduce the amount of stress hormones that your body releases.
The workout: Sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and visualize the kind of future you hope to have. Imagine a fulfilling working life, supportive friendships and loving relationships, or finishing that half-marathon you're training for--whatever event that makes you feel happy. bLife's scientific advisor Tali Sharot performed research that found people who are proactive in imagining happy future events show more activity in the part of their brain that regulates emotion; other studies have suggested that thinking positively may actually increase the chance of future happy outcomes.
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Sleep: Do you feel rested?
Why it's important: Snoozing time clears out "brain gunk" and recharges your brain.
The workout: Try bedtime visualization exercises, which help your mind shift to a lower gear after racing around all day. Get comfy, breathe deeply, and imagine a pretend, very detailed scenario--for example, lounging on a white-sand beach or sightseeing in France. Research shows that this helps quiet your brain, leading to more restful sleep.
Relationships: Have you spent quality time with people lately?
Why it's important: Not only does it make you feel good, it's also been shown to boost your immune system and keep your cardiovascular health top-notch.
The workout: Simply doing something nice for someone--a favor, a random act of kindness, volunteering your time with an organization that needs it--can give you a sense of purpose. And even just taking a few extra minutes each day to express your gratitude for the people in your life can go a long way--for them and you.
Ahh...feeling more relaxed already! What do you do to work out your brain?
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