Relax… pretending to be a cow!

While this title may sound strange, we have some unusual but effective ways to achieve a state of relaxation, no matter where you are today. You only need 15 minutes! Here are some really simple tricks.

1. Nature on prescription

Did you know that Scottish doctors write “contact with nature” on prescriptions of over-stressed and tired patients? Given the scientific research, this should not come as a surprise. As little as 15 minutes of contact with nature decreases stress levels, equalizes the heart rate, and improves blood pressure.

A study conducted in 2017 by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston showed that living near green spaces prolongs life and improves mental health. This is not surprising. Trees not only capture carbon from the atmosphere and produce oxygen through photosynthesis, but also have a beneficial effect on the nervous system because they make it easy to relax. Since it has been proven, then why not spend at least 15 minutes a day to go for a walk or a brisk stroll through a nearby forest or park.

2. Sensory exercises for adults

Sensory exercises are usually used for children with sensory integration disorders, that is, when their nervous system improperly organizes sensory stimuli, causing increased anxiety, stress or the development of anxiety-neurotic states. So why not use this knowledge to alleviate the “adult” tension and effects of chronic fatigue?

To achieve this, try the gentle pressure technique, using a weighted blanket. Their heavier filling must be matched to the person’s weight! It is made of special glass microbeads, and in an unusual way affects the receptors in the skin, which in turn send information to the brain that our body feels safe at a given place and time. The effect of gentle pressure by covering works exactly like close cuddling– stress hormones decrease, in favour of increased serotonin production.

3. Forced smiling

A stressed, tense and upset body is not conducive to producing “happiness hormones”, so it is no wonder that smiling is the last thing you feel like doing at that time. However, forcing ourselves to adopt a relaxed and happy attitude makes us feel exactly that – relaxed and happy.

Research conducted by Fritz Strack in the 1980s provides the evidence for this. Therefore, a more frequent smile,even a forced one, will help us to deceive the brain a little and put it into a state of rest. So when you go through difficult moments, literally, force yourself to raise the corners of your mouth and your brain will start working on increasing serotonin! It’s a good idea to include “smile training” in your routine and smile for one minute twice a day. It’s worth a try!

4. Mandibular training

Although smiling is one of the elements of the “training” of facial muscles, it is worth developing these techniques and going a step further. We have a suggestion that does not require leaving the house or office, or even changing the position you are currently in. Mandibular training is a technique directly from kindergartens, where the problem of strained facial muscles in toddlers is quite common.

What should you do? One way to relax these muscles is to pretend to be a cow: we move the mandible as if we were chewing delicious grass from a green pasture. Similar effect can be achieved by pretending to yawn or lowering the jaw and raising it (as if saying “ma-ma” :)). These exercises should be performed for about 10 minutes.

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