The modern rat race can cause us great stress and leave us with little or no time to take care of ourselves. However, there are quick and easy ways to improve our lifestyle, mood, and health, and they only take about 60 seconds each. Even if you only turn some of these into habits, you’ll still enjoy a happy and healthier life with little effort and time.
1. Laugh and smile
There’s a reason laughter has a reputation for being the best medicine. It’s one of the body’s natural painkillers and shares several physiological functions with exercising. William Fry, one of the pioneers in laughter research, claims that using a rowing machine for ten minutes exercises the heart to the same extent as one minute of laughter. Laughter also improves your memory and burns calories. If you’re feeling down or even somewhat depressed, a little smile (even a fake one) can change your mood.
2. Stand up whenever you can
Most of us spend our days sitting down: working, driving and watching TV are just a few of things we do while sat in a seat. A recent research paper found that prolonged sessions of sitting can induce psychological distress. Another study has found that women who sit for 10 hours a day or more are at a higher risk heart and cardiovascular disease when compared to those sitting for only 5 hours a day. Even standing up for a few seconds will improve your circulation significantly.
3. Hug someone you love
Hugging feels great on its own, but it also has scientifically-proven health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and stabilizing the heart rate. Hugging releases dopamine – a natural painkiller and can reduce cortisol levels (a stress hormone). A hug can give you more mental energy, and help you handle most obstacles.
4. Take a deep breath
We all get nervous and stressed, whether it be because of work, traffic or even household chores. In our most stressful moments, it’s vital to remember that we have an innate relaxation mechanism. Taking deep, controlled breaths for 60 seconds when feeling stressed or tired can completely alter your state of mind. Deep breaths lower your blood pressure, slows down the production of stress hormones and helps to ease anxiety and internal disquiet.
5. Wash your hands
You may think it’s obvious, but this simple and quick action can protect your health more than you can fathom. Most people wash their hands before eating or after visiting the restroom, but washing your hands with soap more times a day will reduce your chances of getting sick by 20-30%. Remember to moisturize your hands from time to time.
6. Wear a seatbelt
As trivial as it may seem, this easy action takes about five seconds and saves thousands of lives every year. Think about it: you’re not climbing Everest or running a marathon. You’re simply reaching back, and pulling on a belt. This is particularly important when you have children in the car. So don’t be lazy and think about comfort first, it’s better to “waste” ten seconds than risk your life.