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? Big deal! 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 circulation and fatigues muscles. Set your cell phone alarm for one-hour intervals that will remind you to stretch tense shoulder muscles and ease a stiff back and hamstrings (the back of your thighs), and your calves.
# Imagine it!
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.
# Office yoga
Here’s a little de-stressing you can do standing at your desk. Bend your knees slightly and roll your torso down until your chest is facing you thighs. Wrap your arms behind your legs and exhale, letting your body sink into the position. Breathe deeply six times, then roll up and out of the position. IMP: Ensure that no one is sitting or standing behind you when you do this!
#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.
# Head off hand strain
If you are a keyboard jockey, stand and place your palms on your desk. Press firmly for five seconds, then release. Repeat four times.
# Hair story
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.
# Focus meditation
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.