Oxygen is vital to our health, when we are stressed our breathing becomes shallow. Try taking a few minutes every hour to step away from your desk, roll your shoulders back, open up your chest, close your eyes and take 10 deep controlled breaths, focussing on filling your lungs and abdomen.
Studies have repeatedly shown the effectiveness of daily mediation/mindfulness to reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Headspace and Calm are fantastic apps available on android and apple, which provide short, guided series’ of meditation and mindfulness.
- Extension Exercises
When we are sitting at a desk we stimulate the same muscles that become activated in preparation for flight or fight which can cause a wind up of our stress response. Lying over a large towel or foam roller with your arms out to the side and knees up or legs straight helps to reverse this posture. Combining it with step 1 and 2 feels fantastic! And is a great way to wind down after a day at work, school or studying.
- Clean up your sleep routine
Here are some easy tips that will help to wind down your nervous system before bed.
- Having a set bedtime before midnight, ideally around 10pm
- Reduce screen time for at least an hour before bed
- If you have to use your device ensuring that F.Lux/night mode settings are activated will reduce stimulation of your nervous system
- Do a body scan in bed to relax your body and mind
- Try a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. We have DoTerra oils available in the practice including roll on oil which you can take with you anywhere.
- Give someone a big hug or a cuddle!
Hugs encourage your body to release oxytocin aka the love hormone, the more oxytocin your pituitary gland releases, the better able you are to handle life’s stressors. A recent study showed that hugging someone you care about reduces stress by 32% and in women it actually lowered blood pressure.
- Listen to some music
Neuroscientists have discovered a song that reduces anxiety and depression by up to 65%! Weightless by Marconi Union produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date, check out the “The most relaxing songs ever according to science” playlist on spotify.
- Get your brain ready to learn
Our brain’s activity is measured in waves. These waves change based on our environment and the task that we are doing or need to do. When our brain is learning its activity changes to alpha, theta or delta wave activity depending on what you are studying. If you need to memorize a lot of information, like facts, history, formulas, etc. to pass a test, Theta is best. If you are learning something new try alpha, as the relaxed yet focused mental state will make it much easier to stay interested and process clearly. There is an app available for iPhone or android called binaural beats that helps your brain get into these different wave patterns. It emits the desired sound wave (depending on your activity) to help get your brain in the optimum state for learning. You can also search Spotify for “Alpha waves”, “Theta waves”, “Delta waves” to find lists of songs that use these waves. Play around and find one that works for you.
- Move while you learn
In order to learn we must move “ Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.” Taking regular breaks every 30 minutes gets you up out of your seat. All you need is 1-2 minutes to reset you can do jumping jacks, walk around the room, dance whatever you need to do to get moving is beneficial to your learning. You can even try downloading a seminar/class, record yourself reading notes and go for a walk this helps to boost retention and gets you out of your seat.
- Sitting posture
- Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
- All 3 normal back curves should be present while sitting.
- Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely.
- Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds.
- Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture.
- Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
- Bend your knees at a right angle. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. (use a foot rest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
- At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
- When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.
- Keep devices out of your study area
Leaving your phone on your desk means procrastination. A recent study suggests that the average person look at phone 84 times per day and spend 5 hours searching the web = 1/3 time spent awake. When you want to use time efficiently it is important to put away your devices. The best place to have them is outside of your room so you are less likely to think about checking them while you are studying. If they remain on your desk the temptation is there and this reduces your ability to concentrate.
- Fuel your brain
We are what we eat so be smart about your food choices. Lots of green leafy vegetables, avocado, fruits like blueberries and blackcurrants, oily fish, turmeric, dark chocolate (min 70%) and walnuts give you long lasting energy through the day and supply you with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that keep your brain happy and reduce inflammation. Try to stay away from coffee and sugar as these increase can increase the stress response and inflammation in our bodies, disrupt sleep and bring on the 3pm energy crash.
- Get Adjusted!
The stress response starts with our Nervous System so ensuring that your nervous system is functioning without interference is of vital importance. The best way to ensure you have an optimally functioning nervous is to get regular chiropractic checks.
You can make an appointment by calling Northcote Chiropractic Clinic on 020 7350 1100. We look forward to seeing you!