relaxation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10381/all en-US 13 Cheap Ways to Beat Stress http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_meditating_000025216479.jpg" alt="Woman using cheap ways to beat stress" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're dealing with work, school, or family drama, stress can drain your energy and kill your motivation. Everyone deals with stressful situations, and we all have our own way of getting through these hard times. Unsurprisingly, some people rely on retail therapy to calm their nerves and relieve stress. But while shopping might provide a temporary emotional high, spending money you don't have can add to your problem. Instead of pulling out your wallet and going on a shopping spree, here are 13 cheap <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-stress-free-ways-to-stay-productive-on-vacation">ways to beat stress</a>.</p> <h2>1. Go for a Walk</h2> <p>Any type of physical activity is a <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469">stress reliever</a>. Exercise might be the last thing on your mind, but moving around releases endorphins that can boost your mood and improve your attitude. If you feel better, it'll be easier to cope with stressful situations.</p> <h2>2. Declutter Your House</h2> <p>Take your mind off the situation with a much-needed chore around the house. Immerse yourself in a project, such as decluttering your closet, a room, or the garage. Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time, and if you're heavily involved in a project, it might be enough to take your mind off a stressful situation.</p> <h2>3. Meditate</h2> <p>Meditation produces a state of deep relaxation, bringing inner peace and calmness. It doesn't take long and you can meditate anywhere &mdash; while sitting in a chair, lying in bed, or taking a walk. Imagine something that brings you peace and focus all your attention on this image. Some research suggests meditation makes us more resilient to stress.</p> <h2>4. Write in a Journal</h2> <p>Getting your thoughts out on paper is another cheap stress buster. Keeping your feelings bottled up inside can heighten your level of tension. But if you get everything off your chest and write it down, you can uncover the root of stressful situations. You can also record potential solutions to your problems. You might feel less stress once you have a plan of attack.</p> <h2>5. Listen to Music and Reminisce</h2> <p>Put on your earphones and listen to music. Preferably&nbsp;music that brings to mind happy memories, or slow classical music, which helps <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0070156">decrease stress hormones</a>.</p> <h2>6. Sit Outdoors</h2> <p>A change of scenery might do you good. If you're cooped up in the house and feeling stress, going outside and getting some vitamin D and fresh air can improve your mood and anxiety level. Sunlight can <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight">raise serotonin levels</a>, which helps regulate stress, anxiety, and depression.</p> <h2>7. Color or Paint</h2> <p>Exploring your creative side with art is not only fun but also therapeutic. You don't have to be a master artist or own a lot of art supplies to improve your stress level. A coloring book and some crayons are all you need. This activity takes your mind off your problems, plus coloring takes us back to childhood, a time when most of us were generally stress-free.</p> <h2>8. Let it Out</h2> <p>Whether you have to punch a pillow or scream at the top of your lungs, getting out your emotions and frustrations can provide stress relief. Your stress level can worsen if you keep intense feelings inside, but you might feel better or stronger once you vent your frustrations.</p> <h2>9. Take a Hot Bath</h2> <p>A warm, relaxing bath can calm your mind and relax tense muscles. Add some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=lavender%20essential%20oil&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=lavender%2Caps%2C625&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=FE6QYKWJMVD4LTED">lavender oil</a> to your bathwater, light a scented candle, and play relaxing music in the background.</p> <h2>10. Take a Nap</h2> <p>It's hard to cope with stress when you're physically and mentally exhausted. Go to bed early or take a nap, and then deal with a stressful situation when you're in a better frame of mind.</p> <h2>11. Watch a Funny Movie</h2> <p>Find the most hilarious movie on Netflix or Hulu and laugh away your stress. Laughing and smiling is more powerful than you think. Both activities can stimulate the production of feel-good brain hormones. And when you're feeling good, stress won't get the best of you.</p> <h2>12. Spend an Evening Alone</h2> <p>Maybe you're overwhelmed with everything on your plate at work and at home. If you're getting pulled in different directions and you need time to clear your head, send everyone away and spend a day at home by yourself. Use this time to focus on activities you enjoy. Watch movies all day in your bathrobe, exercise, sleep, or just sit in a quiet house with no interruptions.</p> <h2>13. Get a Massage</h2> <p>Even if it's only for 30 or 45 minutes, a massage session eases tension in your muscles and can release dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins &mdash; improving your state of mind and lowering your stress level.</p> <p><em>Do you have other cheap ways to beat stress that you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tattoo-removal-on-the-cheap-just-use-a-black-decker-sander">Tattoo removal on the cheap...just use a Black &amp; Decker Sander.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trim-costs-with-cheaper-kids-haircuts">Trim Costs with Cheaper Kid&#039;s Haircuts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-home-into-a-spa-with-these-5-frugal-stress-relievers">Turn Your Home Into a Spa With These 5 Frugal Stress Relievers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-stressors-you-can-easily-eliminate-today">6 Little Stressors You Can Easily Eliminate Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">Super Solid Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty anxiety cheap relaxation soothing stress relief Tue, 23 Jun 2015 21:00:19 +0000 Mikey Rox 1460790 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn Your Home Into a Spa With These 5 Frugal Stress Relievers http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-home-into-a-spa-with-these-5-frugal-stress-relievers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-your-home-into-a-spa-with-these-5-frugal-stress-relievers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/relaxing-450797307-small.jpg" alt="relaxing" title="relaxing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You need a break. We all do! You may already know all about the scientific evidence that shows the mental and physical <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/science-proves-it-you-need-to-take-a-vacation">health benefits of taking a vacation</a>. However, you don't need to wait for a full vacation to get some relaxation time. In fact, small doses of relaxation work wonders for your overall health. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation</a>)</p> <p>Here are five ways to give yourself some regularly-scheduled R&amp;R without breaking the bank.</p> <h2>1. Treat Your Feet, Treat Yourself</h2> <p>Ever notice what happens to your mood when you're wearing uncomfortable shoes? It takes a serious nose dive! The converse is also true &mdash; when your feet feel good, life feels good.</p> <p>You could spend a lot of money on pedicures, foot massages, and reflexology treatments. The money is well worth the benefits, although there is another way to give yourself an inexpensive dose of foot-focused happiness: an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=foot%20spa&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">at-home foot spa</a>. I found options as low as $27, about the price of one pedicure at my local salon. Some are water-based while others offer heat, vibration, bubble jets, and even massages. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home?ref=seealso">10 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home</a>)</p> <h2>2. Make Your Bed a Sanctuary</h2> <p>A good night's sleep is the foundation of a satisfying life. Everything about our beds should feel cozy, comforting, and stress-free. I look for 500+ thread count sheets on sale (the higher the thread count, the softer the sheets!), change out my pillows for new ones once a year, and use both a pillow topper and a duvet. Stores such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">HomeGoods</a> and T.J.Maxx often have all of these items at deep discounts. I also spritz my bed regularly with a few drops of lavender oil diluted in a half cup of water.</p> <h2>3. Loosen Up With the MELT Method</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.meltmethod.com/">MELT Method</a> is a type of bodywork that relieves physical and mental tension and stress. The routine employs a variety of stretches, foam rollers, and rubber balls to massage muscles and limber up connective tissue.</p> <p>A relatively new concept, MELT classes are available in some cities and occasionally you may find a MELT instructor in your neighborhood who offers private sessions. Luckily you can purchase all of the gear and follow instructions in a manual or on videos (online and DVDs) that are just as effective at a fraction of the cost. It takes just 10 minutes a day and relieves chronic pain in many people. For a very low-cost substitute, you can use tennis balls or small rubber exercise balls and a standard issue foam roller available at many stores that sell sporting goods or on Amazon. There are <a href="https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=MELT+Method">MELT Method videos</a> available on YouTube for free! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-moon-full-wallet-free-online-yoga-videos?ref=seealso">Half Moon, Full Wallet; Free Online Yoga Videos</a>)</p> <h2>4. Reduce Stress With Soothing Sounds</h2> <p>It's amazing what some nature sounds, a short guided meditation, and even just relaxing music can do for our minds. There are <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html">a number of scientific studies</a> that show that soothing sounds reduce our levels of stress hormones, lower anxiety, and improve our communication abilities. Best of all, this method ranges in price from cheap to free! I am a yoga and meditation teacher and created three free <a href="http://onefineyogi.com/media-mobile-apps/">guided online meditations</a> you can try. If that's not your thing, try listening to the sounds of nature. My favorites are <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/relaxing-sounds-nature-lite/id345747251?mt=8">Relaxing Sounds of Nature</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/naturespace-relax-meditate/id312618509?mt=8">Naturespace</a>, which I listen to on my iPad.</p> <p>Finally, music is a great way to escape from the mundane. I am a big fan of playing music all the time &mdash; I'm more productive and happier with it, even when I'm doing a task that isn't much fun.</p> <h2>5. Spend Time With Animals</h2> <p>Science shows that <a href="http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-pets-improve-your-health">spending time with animals</a>, especially our own pets, reduces stress, relieves anxiety, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves heart health, and alleviates depression. Worried you don't have time to properly care for a pet? Offer to walk a friend's dog, pet sit while a friend or family member is out of town, or volunteer at your local animal shelter. You'll reap the relaxation benefits and helps others at the same time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-your-dog-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso">5 Surprising Ways Your Dog Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <p>There's no doubt that we all need to get out of town and on vacation from time to time. These five ideas will help tide you over between those well-deserved breaks with home-baked rest and relaxation that's affordable and available every day.</p> <p><em>Do you have favorite affordable ways to relax at home? Share them in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-home-into-a-spa-with-these-5-frugal-stress-relievers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-forget-to-do-before-leaving-for-vacation">14 Things You Forget to Do Before Leaving for Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-hair-for-cash">How to Sell Your Hair for Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-simple-sunburn-remedies-that-really-work">Cheap and Simple Sunburn Remedies That Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty relaxation rest travel vacation Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:00:02 +0000 Christa Avampato 1142657 at http://www.wisebread.com You Might Be Breathing Wrong — Here's What You Should Do Instead http://www.wisebread.com/you-might-be-breathing-wrong-heres-what-you-should-do-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-might-be-breathing-wrong-heres-what-you-should-do-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/breathing-461235173-small.jpg" alt="breathing" title="breathing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="152" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Take a deep breath &mdash;&nbsp;a really deep breath. For many of my yoga and meditation students, breathing is one of the hardest parts of class. Some are shallow breathers, meaning they only take in the bare minimum amount of breath needed to survive. Quite a few of my students also have a habit of holding their breath, especially when in challenging poses or when they're faced with a difficult situation in life. <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/12/06/131734718/just-breathe-body-has-a-built-in-stress-reliever">Both of these habits</a> reduce the oxygen levels in our bodies and increase the levels of stress chemicals and carbon dioxide. This leaves us lethargic and induces depression. It also suppresses the immune system. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/relax-and-conquer?ref=seealso">Relax and Conquer</a>)</p> <p>Taking just a few moments to breathe deeply and fully every day gives us more energy, improves our mood, cleanses the body of toxins, staves off disease, and helps us to stay active.</p> <p>Here's a five step plan to get the most benefits from every breath.</p> <h2>1. Adjust Your Posture</h2> <p>The first step to correct breathing is efficient and optimal posture. We need to adjust the architecture of the body to allow the lungs to fully expand.</p> <p>Decide if you feel most comfortable lying down on your back, sitting, or standing. If lying on the back, choose a supportive surface such as a yoga mat placed on the floor. Let the body fully relax into the mat and notice the natural curves of the spine.</p> <p>If sitting down, choose a supportive chair or sit cross-legged on a yoga mat with the back against the wall.</p> <p>If standing, feel all four corners of both feet sinking down evenly into the ground. It standing or sitting, imagine that there's a string in the middle of the crown of the head that slightly lifts you up and check to see that the chin is parallel to the ground. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-and-keep-amazing-posture-by-doing-these-10-stretches-today?ref=seealso">Get &mdash; and Keep &mdash; Amazing Posture With These 10 Stretches</a>)</p> <h2>2. Relax Your Face, Neck, Shoulders, and Ribs</h2> <p>Now that you have the body in correct alignment, relax all the muscles of the face, neck, shoulders, and ribs. With these areas relaxed, the nasal passages, throat, chest, and muscles between the rib bones relax as well, and you are ready to receive as much air as your lungs can hold.</p> <h2>3. Check Your Belly, Chest, and Collar Bones</h2> <p>While the lungs are the primary organ for breathing, other parts of the body get involved as well. As the lungs expand, the belly expands, the chest rises, and even the collar bones lift slightly. As we exhale, the collar bones drop, the chest falls, and the navel moves back toward the spine when the belly relaxes. When all three of these areas move with the breath, we call this a <a href="http://www.yogaindailylife.org/esystem/yoga/en/020200/exercise-levels/the-full-yoga-breath/">Full Complete Breath</a>.</p> <h2>4. Recognize Nasal Breathing Versus Mouth Breathing</h2> <p>There is a biological difference between breathing in and out through the nose and in and out through the mouth even though both breathing mechanisms involve the lungs.</p> <p>When we breathe in and out through the nose, we <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3449485">actually stimulate the brain</a>. The left nostril is connected to the right side of the brain (the creative, big-picture side of the brain) and the right nostril is connected to the left side of the brain (the analytical, detail-oriented side of the brain.) By breathing in and out through the nose, we actively engage the entire brain.</p> <p>When we bypass the nose and breathe in and out of the mouth, the brain is less stimulated. Breathing in and out through the mouth is a good option when we are overheated or when we encounter sizzling summer temperatures. This is because breathing in and out through the mouth is an excellent way for the body to release excess heat quickly and effectively.</p> <h2>5. Try These Three Specialized Techniques</h2> <p>Depending on your needs, you can use three different techniques for three different benefits.</p> <h3>When You Need to Relax</h3> <p>The relaxation response is triggered by belly breathing. To get a sense of this technique, place both hands on the belly. When you breathe in and out, allow most of the body expansion to happen in the belly rather than the chest. This is a technique to practice when we feel nervous, fearful, or stressed.</p> <h3>When You Need More Energy</h3> <p>The breath is also a great tool to give us some added pep in our step. While belly breathing helps us calm down, concentrating more of our breathing movement in the chest stimulates the nervous system. To receive this benefit, place both hands on the heart and concentrate most of the body movement associated with the breath in that area. This technique works if you feel tired or mentally or physically depleted.</p> <h3>To Get the Most Out of Your Workout</h3> <p>Breath is, of course, an integral part of any workout. As a general rule, breathe in when you expand any part of the body (for example, lifting the arms up overhead) and breathe out when you contract any part of the body (for example, curling the arms toward the body with weights in the hands). This lets the breath act as a tool to align with and support our physical movements.</p> <p>Breathing is one of only two actions the body does consciously and subconsciously. (Blinking is the other one.) As a result, we often take conscious breathing for granted, though it can work wonders for both our mental and physical health. It's a tool we can use and a barometer of how we're feeling. Use it wisely with the steps and techniques above.</p> <p><em>Have you tried to improve your breathing? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-might-be-breathing-wrong-heres-what-you-should-do-instead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-and-keep-amazing-posture-by-doing-these-10-stretches-today">Get — and Keep — Amazing Posture by Doing These 10 Stretches Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">Super Solid Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-free-or-cheap-yoga-classes">Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress">13 Cheap Ways to Beat Stress</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Health and Beauty breathing deep breathing posture relaxation yoga Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:00:52 +0000 Christa Avampato 1142439 at http://www.wisebread.com Banish Stress: Easy Ways to Get Calm Now and Forever http://www.wisebread.com/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-5362436-small.jpg" alt="woman" title="woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We&#39;ve all had those moments...</p> <p>Those times when it feels as if things are spiraling out of control and you&#39;re just not sure how much more you can take. Maybe the bills are piling up, maybe your kids are acting out, or maybe it&rsquo;s just a series of smaller events, coming together to create one seriously chaotic day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-have-a-better-day-at-work?ref=seealso">How to Have a Better Day at Work</a>)</p> <p>You know you shouldn&#39;t stress. YBut you can feel yourself reaching that &quot;up-to-here&quot; breaking point that indicates a melt down isn&#39;t far away.</p> <p>What to do?</p> <p>The most important thing is to take action... action that either attacks the source of your stress head-on or, at the very least, neutralizes the disruption of whatever obstacles currently stand in your way.</p> <p>Sometimes, identifying that action is easy. Several years ago, I found myself in a bit of a financial bind and while we were making ends meet, I just couldn&#39;t stand the idea of spending one more month pinching pennies and barely scraping by.</p> <p>So, I got a second job. Yes, this created a new stress, but it was the good kind of stress because suddenly, I was back in control. Almost immediately, I had new income to work with. I was able to put more towards my debt and still have enough to buy groceries and gas while tucking some away in savings to boot. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-stress-free-retirement-investing?ref=seealso">Stress-Free Retirement Investing</a>)</p> <p>Sometimes, however, identifying the right action isn&#39;t quite so simple. So, with that in mind, let&#39;s look at some other ways to ease your stress and help restore your inner nirvana.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/elimstress-187868510-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>Do These Things Immediately</h2> <p>When things have actually gotten away from you and you are about to blow a fuse (or already have), here&#39;s what to do to settle down now. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions?ref=seealso">How to Manage Powerful Emotions</a>)</p> <h3>Breathe</h3> <p>There are a number of mental and physical changes that occur when we are under stress. Our heart rate speeds up, for example, and our muscles tense. Many have trouble focusing on a particular project and feel irritable, restless, or fatigued. We might clench our jaw, grind our teeth, or suffer from an upset stomach.</p> <p>But before any of these other things happen, we change the way we breathe, making this the key to calming down before things get out of hand.</p> <p>When we&#39;re stressed, our breathing becomes faster and more shallow, decreasing oxygen in the bloodstream and thereby exacerbating the muscle tension, headaches, and all the other symptoms that follow. The solution, then, is to slow down your breathing and <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/12/06/131734718/just-breathe-body-has-a-built-in-stress-reliever">take deep, relaxing breaths</a>. Inhale through your nose and out through your mouth, making sure that you breathe deep enough to cause your abdomen to expand as you inhale.</p> <p>Fill up those lungs with fresh air, and then blow all that negative energy out as you exhale. This simple deep-breathing exercise can induce instant relief, making you feel calmer and more centered almost immediately.</p> <h3>Get Some Perspective</h3> <p>Humans are consistently good at exaggeration. Now, the reasons we exaggerate are many &mdash; our embellishments make the story more interesting, or they do a better job of proving our point of view. And then sometimes, our mind just fills in the blanks to suit its needs... in other words, we&#39;re skewing reality even when we don&#39;t mean to.</p> <p>My daughter, for instance, loves the phrase &quot;worst day ever.&quot; But is it really? Does the fact that she can&#39;t ride her bike because its raining outside really make it the most awful day she&#39;s ever experienced? Or is her disappointment clouding her perspective?</p> <p>Granted, you and I might not see a bike-riding delay as a big deal, but she does, and the stress that results is just as real for her. Forcing her to take a step back and evaluate her emotions allows her to acknowledge the frustration and work on ways to alleviate it, rather than just letting it ruin her day.</p> <p>Your day may not be going as smoothly as planned. Your boss may be in a mood, you may have been late to the BIG meeting, and your tire may have gone flat in the middle of rush hour traffic, but is it really the day from hell that you&#39;re making it out to be? Or is your agitation making it worse than it truly is?</p> <p>By distinguishing between what&#39;s real and what&#39;s embellished, you give yourself the perspective needed to move forward. Saying, &quot;this blows, but I can handle it&quot; or &quot;it is what it is... now how do I fix it&quot; puts an end to your mental spiral of exaggeration, allowing you to see the possibility of better things to come. And with a more realistic perspective, you can better deal with whatever ails you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now?ref=seealso">7 Ways to Feel Better Now</a>)</p> <h3>Massage Your Hands</h3> <p>The first time I ever treated myself to a day at the spa, I realized immediately what all the fuss was about. I felt absolutely amazing when it was all said and done&nbsp;&mdash; refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle anything.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we can&#39;t all run to the spa when stress starts to set in. But we can still tap into its ability to soothe, and the best part is you can do this one anywhere, anytime. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home?ref=seealso">Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home</a>)</p> <p>Using the thumb and forefinger of one hand, start at the base knuckle of the other hand and massage your way out to each fingertip. Do one finger at a time, using a circular motion, and be sure to massage the sides of the fingers as well as the top and bottom. When you&#39;re done with the fingers, start on the hand itself by pressing your thumb into the palm (your other fingers on the &quot;top&quot; of your hand) and massage from the center outward.</p> <p>The beauty of this is that you can do it immediately, even as you sit in that meeting or wait for traffic to start moving again. It doesn&#39;t have to be a big motion and it doesn&#39;t require any concentration to do, so you can continue to function and focus on the outside world while you&#39;re massaging your stress away.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/elimstress-92220570-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>Do These Things as Soon as You Can</h2> <p>If the above quick fixes didn&#39;t settle you down, hang in there until more help arrives.</p> <h3>Walk Away</h3> <p>If you&#39;re having trouble finding perspective, it&#39;s likely because you&#39;re too immersed in the events that are causing you stress. So walk away.</p> <p>Taking a step back removes you from the situation, at least temporarily, and gives you time to think things through and reclaim your composure before you do or say something you might later regret. It&#39;s why time-outs are still a staple of parenting and why those with anxiety disorders feel the need to flee when the tension starts to set in &mdash; the stress can&#39;t escalate if it&#39;s no longer staring you in the face.</p> <p>So, go to lunch. Take a walk around the block. Go to the garage and sit in your car if nothing else, or lock yourself in the bathroom. Give yourself some quiet time to ponder and postulate, to breathe and count to 10. It&#39;s also a great opportunity to practice some positive self-talk and even walk through different scenarios to decide how best to address your problem.</p> <h3>Clean</h3> <p>If you&#39;ve read any of my previous posts on Wise Bread, then you know that organization isn&#39;t my thing. Unless I&#39;m angry, that is. And then everything gets cleaned. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-all-purpose-cleaners?ref=seealso">5 Best All-Purpose Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>Cleaning gives me time to clear my head. It allows me to work out my frustrations in a healthy, physical way that won&#39;t result in jail time or a restraining order. It&#39;s therapeutic and gives me the sense of being back in control &mdash; as in, I&#39;ll show you, bad neighbor; I&#39;ll clean out my closet and there&#39;s nothing you can do to stop me.</p> <p>Yes, that might sound silly, but it works, and when you&#39;re done, you can marvel at your sparkling counters and freshly scrubbed floors before collapsing on the couch for a well-earned nap.</p> <h3>Make a List</h3> <p>I love lists. Lists help identify what needs to be done, steps that need to be taken, the path you must walk to get from <em>here</em> to <em>there</em>. And when you&#39;re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, this is an easy way to get back some of that perspective we talked about earlier.</p> <p>The key to making your list-therapy work is to get specific. Don&#39;t just jot down vague to-dos &mdash; list items that you can accomplish quickly to bring order back into your life. When I go on a cleaning-binge for example, I do the dishes first. It&#39;s a small job that doesn&#39;t take long to complete, and I get an immediate sense of accomplishment. I don&#39;t necessarily make a list of things to clean, but the logic is still the same. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks?ref=seealso">How to Make Your Lists More Effective</a>)</p> <p>Likewise, if its my workload that&#39;s causing me stress, I tackle some of the smallest jobs first, because I can then cross them off my list. I may still have the bigger projects looming over me, but hey, look at how much I got done today! And in those instances where there&#39;s nothing you can actually do to conquer the stressor itself, list out some things that would make you feel better instead.</p> <p>If you hate your job, then formulate a plan to update your resume to find a new one. If your car is a hunk of junk, then work out a plan for making necessary repairs or replacing it with something better. And if all else fails, make a list of the things you&#39;d like to learn, have and do within the next year. This, by the way, is my favorite list to make because it puts me in a much more optimistic frame of mind.</p> <p>And when you have a positive mindset, there&#39;s nothing you can&#39;t handle.</p> <h3>Take a Bath</h3> <p>Obviously, if you&#39;re at work, this will have to wait, but if you can &mdash; as soon as you can &mdash; jump in the tub. Add lots of bubbles or some soothing bath oils if you have them on hand and then sink down into that warm water until your face is the only thing that shows.</p> <p>While you&#39;re there, imagine all your worries just washing away. Close your eyes and listen to the &quot;nothing&quot; under water and simply allow yourself a moment to just be. Breathe deeply (you&#39;ve been practicing, haven&#39;t you?) and let the scents and the silence permeate every inch of your body, even that last, frayed nerve.</p> <h3>Call in Support</h3> <p>There is nothing that will improve your disposition faster than surrounding yourself with people who make no demands and love you unconditionally. This could be your family or a close circle of friends &mdash; as long as they&#39;re supportive and loving, they&#39;ll do just fine.</p> <p>You need people who will listen while you vent, people who will help you find that perspective, figure out solutions, and most importantly, pull you up when you&#39;ve been wallowing in your own drama for too long. These are the people who keep you honest, but have your back even in the darkest of alleys.</p> <p>Keep them close and lean on them when you need to. Their support will make you stronger. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso">Why Cultivating Relationships Is Good for You</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/elimstress-relax-3025876-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>Do These Things For Long-Term Stress Management</h2> <p>While you won&#39;t be able to avoid stress altogether, you can make it manageable by attacking it at its source and being sure to take care of you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-solve-your-problem?ref=seealso">How to Solve Your Problem</a>)</p> <h3>Under Promise, Over Deliver</h3> <p>Is part of your stress caused by too many obligations? Sometimes it&#39;s hard to set realistic expectations and even harder to say &quot;No&quot; altogether, but it&#39;s an ability you need to acquire if you want to reduce your stress. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Say &ldquo;No&rdquo;</a>)</p> <p>Life is hectic enough without committing every free moment to an outside obligation, and this kind of over-extending doesn&#39;t allow for all those things that can and will eventually go wrong. The result is that your Internet goes down right when you should be uploading that report or paying that bill and since you waited until the last minute, you don&#39;t have time to deal with the obstacle.</p> <p>You would have done it sooner of course, but you were busy with other things on your to-do list and just couldn&#39;t &quot;get to it&quot; until now.</p> <p>This forces you to continuously work against the clock. There are just not enough hours in the day to get done all the things that need to be done, and this creates one frustrating experience after another. Working this way, it&#39;s no wonder that you&#39;re stressed.</p> <p>So, stop doing it.</p> <p>Give yourself the time you need to complete your projects the way you want them completed. Practice under-promising your abilities and then over-deliver when you finish earlier than expected. You&#39;ll feel better about what you&#39;ve accomplished and your schedule will become much more manageable, both of which will do wonders for your stress-level.</p> <h3>Meditate</h3> <p>You don&#39;t have to follow the New Age movement to benefit from this easy yet highly effective stress-management tool.</p> <p>Simply sit comfortably in a quiet place. Close your eyes and count backwards from twenty, visualizing the numbers appearing in your mind as you count. If a random thought interrupts your progress, let that thought float right on by, but start over again at twenty.</p> <p>You&#39;ll be surprised at how many &quot;random thoughts&quot; interrupt your progress before you finally make it all the way to one. That&#39;s because your brain is used to a barrage of stimuli all the time and with this kind of constant input, its no wonder we feel a little frayed. Forcing your mind to be quiet takes time and practice, but you&#39;ll be calmer and more centered for your efforts, and that&#39;s always a good thing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Take 5 Minutes for Yourself</a>)</p> <h3>Indulge</h3> <p>There is certainly something admirable about those with unwavering willpower, and I applaud your ability to stick to your schedules and stay on the straight and narrow.</p> <p>But once in a while &mdash; in fact, on a pretty regular basis &mdash; you need to indulge.</p> <p>Let your hair down, have that second drink or that extra piece of chocolate, buy that jacket that calls your name but is definitely overpriced. You deserve a treat now and then &mdash; a treat that makes you feel special, the kind that you don&#39;t do often, but when you do, it makes you swoon.</p> <h3>Get a Hobby</h3> <p>And speaking of fun...</p> <p>I&#39;ve said this numerous times before, but it&#39;s worth repeating again here. You were not meant to spend your life just &quot;getting through the day.&quot; Work is important, chores are necessary as well, but if you&#39;re not having fun, at least some of the time, then you&#39;re doing it wrong.</p> <p>Life is supposed to be an adventure and that means trying new things, exploring new talents, and doing things that bring joy and happiness to your life. I don&#39;t care if this translates into baking cupcakes, playing baseball with your co-workers, or collecting comic books that feature members of the Justice League. As long as it turns you on, it counts, and you should make time to do it.</p> <p><em>Now, the pressure&#39;s on you &mdash; how do you deal with stress? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-ways-to-de-stress-and-enjoy-life-more">6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now">The Happiness Habits: 7 Ways to Feel Better Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-pieces-of-emotional-baggage-and-how-to-ditch-them">8 Common Pieces of Emotional Baggage (and How to Ditch Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-youre-burned-out-and-how-to-recover">4 Signs You&#039;re Burned Out (and How to Recover)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development de-stress relaxation stress Tue, 14 Jan 2014 10:48:12 +0000 Kate Luther 1111190 at http://www.wisebread.com Free Videos Offer Stress Relief and Relaxation http://www.wisebread.com/free-videos-offer-stress-relief-and-relaxation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/free-videos-offer-stress-relief-and-relaxation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tablet-5112254-small.jpg" alt="woman using tablet" title="woman using tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While many of us might relax by reading a good book or working out at the gym, there's a large number of people who have turned to watching YouTube videos featuring some of the most ordinary &mdash; but occasionally strange &mdash; behaviors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a>)</p> <p>The videos seek to trigger a mysterious phenomenon known as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_sensory_meridian_response">Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response</a>, or &quot;ASMR.&quot; In short, it is a tingly sensation in the back of the head and down the neck. Those who claim to experience ASMR say it is triggered by a wide variety of things, from deliberate hand movements to soft voices or sounds, including fingernail tapping or hair brushing.</p> <p>&quot;For me, one of the biggest things is crinkles and crinkly bags,&quot; said Lindsay Ragone, a television editor in Canada who claims the sensation has helped her address a sleeping disorder. &quot;I&#39;ve watched hundreds and hundreds of these videos, if not thousands.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sleep-better-with-calming-words">Sleep Better With Calming Words</a>)</p> <p>Ragone is currently producing a film on the topic, &quot;<a href="http://braingasm-film.com/">Braingasm</a>,&quot; featuring interviews with people who produce these videos on YouTube. Another documentary, &quot;Tingly Sensation,&quot; is also in production and has <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tinglysensation/tingly-sensation-documentary-film">received more than $11,000 in funding</a> through Kickstarter.</p> <p>At this point, <a href="http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/asmr/">there is no scientific evidence that ASMR is a real thing</a>, though at least one <a href="http://theunnam3df33ling.blogspot.com/2013/02/an-fmri-study-on-asmr-will-take-place.html">researcher at Dartmouth</a> is exploring the phenomenon. And Ragone said there is some debate among YouTubers about which videos actually trigger ASMR and which offer a more general feeling of relaxation.</p> <p>Either way, Ragone noted that some ASMR-themed YouTube channels feature tens of thousands of subscribers, with some individual videos notching millions of views. And the comments on YouTube are almost universally positive, with users praising video producers for helping them deal with everything from sleep problems to stress and even depression.</p> <p>&quot;Generally, the reason people get into these videos is that they come across them accidentally one night on YouTube and realize &#39;Oh my God, that&#39;s that thing I felt, and I didn&#39;t know how to describe it,&#39;&quot; Ragone said. &quot;There are people who say, &#39;I didn&#39;t know this was a thing. I&#39;ve had this my whole life.&#39;&quot;</p> <p>In general, ASMR enthusiasts have remained something of an underground community, though the phenomenon was the subject of a story on <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9Kpu-x67og">NPR&#39;s This American Life</a> earlier this year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">Free Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <p>Do you think this may be the key to your attempts at relaxation? Here&#39;s a look at five of the most popular ASMR producers on YouTube.</p> <h2>Gentlewhispering</h2> <p>Known simply as &quot;Maria&quot; by fans, her channel is highlighted by <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/GentleWhispering">ear-to-ear whispering</a> using a binaural microphone. (You&#39;re supposed to use headphones to get the full effect.) The video below, which features a variety of supposed ASMR triggers, has a whopping 3.2 million views. Also check out the <a href="http://youtu.be/CHiKxytbCWk">tingly towel-folding tutorial</a>, which has 426,000 views.</p> <p>&quot;I know some people who say the sound of her voice can set them in a trance,&quot; Ragone said.</p> <iframe width="605" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RVpfHgC3ye0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The WaterWhispers</h2> <p>Known as &quot;Ilse&quot; to the ASMR community, this YouTuber has cranked out more than 200 videos <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/TheWaterwhispers">featuring ear-to-ear whispering</a>, nail tapping, and various role-playing scenes. Her most popular video below is more than an hour long and features 11 supposed ASMR triggers, including gum chewing, book scratching, and newspaper page flipping. It has 576,000 views.</p> <iframe width="605" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/sfo0ZSgc86A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>ASMRRequests</h2> <p>One of the more prolific YouTubers, known as &quot;Ally&quot; to her fans. Her channel features about <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/ASMRrequests">two new videos a week</a>, in which she usually taps gently on an object while talking about it in a quiet and deliberate voice. (<a href="http://youtu.be/3dbP9HyJXlw">See the two-hour discussion of "Star Wars," featuring light tapping on a laser disc</a>.)</p> <p>Her role-playing videos are also popular. The video below has her acting the role of a space-travel agent from the future. It has 907,000 views.</p> <iframe width="605" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oapgiZc5i-g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>HeatherFeather</h2> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/HeatherFeatherASMR">HeatherFeather has more than 100 videos</a>, usually featuring her facing the camera in some sort of acting role. She&#39;s played a hair stylist, a makeup artist, and even a tattoo consultant. Many of her videos experiment with various &quot;trigger sounds&quot; ranging from hair brushing to chewing gum.</p> <p>The video below features a 3D microphone and a panning effect with a variety of supposedly &quot;tingly&quot; sounds. It is HeatherFeather&#39;s most popular video, with nearly 383,000 views.</p> <iframe width="605" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6YkPh999hWg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>EphemeralRift</h2> <p>One of the more popular male <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/EphemeralRift">ASMR producers and also one of the most creative</a>. His videos feature everything from role-playing to <a href="http://youtu.be/BtM_p-MDFOg">beer drinking</a>, all in an attempt to trigger ASMR in the listener.</p> <p>See the video below of EphemeralRift discussing a post-apocalyptic world where sugar is unavailable except through a fictional &quot;CandyMan.&quot; It is one of his most popular videos, with more than 285,000 views.</p> <iframe width="605" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Bv1qmHjYPKw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>&nbsp</p> <p><em>Are you an ASMR aficionado or &quot;ASMRtist&quot;? Have you tried (or would you try) ASMR to help you relax? Whisper your experience in comments!</em></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-videos-offer-stress-relief-and-relaxation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-might-be-breathing-wrong-heres-what-you-should-do-instead">You Might Be Breathing Wrong — Here&#039;s What You Should Do Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-work-at-home-without-driving-your-spouse-nuts">How to Work at Home Without Driving Your Spouse Nuts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-camping-cooking">10 Tips for Camping Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks ASMR insomnia relaxation YouTube Fri, 01 Nov 2013 09:48:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1059764 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/relax-4847933-small.jpg" alt="man stretching arms" title="man stretching arms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've had a hard day; things have happened at every turn that made you think &quot;I'm going back to bed to restart the day. Maybe I won't emerge 'til tomorrow.&quot; Of course, you soldier on. But, stressed to the edge of sanity, your patience wears thin. You continue your day with that weight upon your shoulders, chugging expensive coffees and praying for the day to be over already. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a>)</p> <p>Stress like this needs to be avoided. Not only is it a rotten way to live, it's also detrimental to your health. It can lead to <a href="http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body">headaches, depression, and more</a>. Thankfully, there are so many affordable, or even free, solutions out there to help you ease the tension.</p> <h2>1. Take Your Pooch for a Walk</h2> <p>Walking is a great way to relieve stress. And if you own a dog, it's a good excuse to get your mutt out of the house to keep you company. If your dog is on the &quot;chubby&quot; side, you'll be doing your best friend a favor, too. And they'll thank you for it. It's far better than the alternative &mdash; sitting on the sofa loading up on ice-cream while your dog does circles on the linoleum. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-pulling-dogs-walk-easy-with-the-easy-walk-harness">Review of the Easy Walk Harness for Dogs</a>)</p> <h2>2. Use YouTube to Learn a New Skill</h2> <p>Self improvement makes us feel good. It's also one of the easiest ways to improve self-esteem. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/">YouTube</a> has hundreds of how-to videos on almost every skill or hobby you can imagine (and even some you can't). From learning a musical instrument to crocheting, photography, model-making, or even pottery, you'll find simple, free instructions online. Other sources include <a href="http://www.instructables.com/">Instructables.com</a>, WikiHow, HowCast, and <a href="http://www.videojug.com/">VideoJug</a>.</p> <h2>3. Declutter Your Home</h2> <p>This is a twofer. Not only is decluttering a good way to take your mind off other things, the end result also leaves you feeling less stressed. Most people hate mess, even if they can live with it. So, grab yourself two plastic shopping bags each day, one labeled Trash and the other Donate. Walk around your home and fill them up. The clearer your surfaces, the clearer your mind. Which brings us to number four&hellip; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">How a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>4. Meditate</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u784/meditate-4847021-small.jpg" /></p> <p>It's not new-age silliness or a passing fad. It's not religious. It's all about self; a spiritual thing that comes from within. We've all heard of meditation and know it's supposed to relieve stress by reconnecting with the present moment and our inner being. If you're unclear about that, you'll know soon. And you'll find plenty of free instruction videos online, including mantras, plus background music if you need a more calming environment.</p> <p>Remember, this takes practice. It's actually quite hard to sit, clear your thoughts, and return to center. But, it gets easier with time. And by clearing your thoughts, and focusing on your body, you're giving yourself some of the best free medicine there is.</p> <h2>5. Get Everything Down on Paper</h2> <p>Or a white board. Or a tablet. Just choose an outlet for your thoughts and exorcise them. Maybe you are feeling a higher sense of stress than your situation should allow. Quite often, you can become overwhelmed by things that, in retrospect, aren't that stressful after all. It can help to sort your thoughts instead of going over and over them in your head again. Get them out, get them on paper, and get on with your day.</p> <h2>6. Talk to Someone</h2> <p>Whether it's a friend, or a doctor or therapist, don't be afraid to seek help. If you're not sure why you're stressed, visiting a doctor could be an especially good move &mdash; your stress may be related to a physical condition, or another kind of imbalance.</p> <h2>7. Take Photos</h2> <p>If you have a Facebook account of your own, or if you visit Instagram or Tumblr, you'll realize that pictures are a wonderful focus on the good things about people's lives. After all, how many people post pictures of themselves looking sad and lonely?</p> <p>So, adopt this &quot;positive photos&quot; way of life. Soon, you will look at your Facebook or Instagram feed and think, &quot;hey, I'm doing great!&quot; What's more, if you make a conscious effort to take photos, you'll start focusing on great things to photograph. You'll look for the good in everyday life, and find those needles in the haystack. Even when it all looks gloomy, there's a beautiful image to capture.</p> <h2>8. Pet Your Pet</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u784/pet-4961984-small.jpg" /></p> <p>There is <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-22265109">scientific evidence</a> that human beings feel less stressed when they are petting a dog, cat, or other animal. Dogs are used to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers, relieve stress in students, and even make dangerous prisoners feel more at ease. If you own a pet, give your companion a little extra love and they'll return it in spades. If you don't, pay a visit to an animal rescue center. You can visit with dogs, cats and other animals, walk them, pet them, and give them some much needed care. It's a win-win situation. You may even find a new friend to bring home.</p> <h2>9. Clean Your Bathroom</h2> <p>Really? Well, it's not pleasant. If it's anything like the bathrooms in my house, where two kids destroy anything they touch, it's more like cleaning up a war zone. BUT, there are a few benefits to this. First, it's a tough job. You're scrubbing, wiping, getting up and down, sometimes on your hands and knees. You don't have much time to think. Put some tunes on and crank them up. When you're done, you'll feel better about the clean bathroom, and you'll feel like you accomplished something.</p> <h2>10. Listen to Music From Memory Lane</h2> <p>We all have music that transports us back to a time or place when things were so much easier (or at least, they seemed easier). For some of us, it's high school. For others, our days being single and carefree, clubbing it and being completely irresponsible. Well, music can actually make you feel those emotions again. Put on some of those classic tunes from times when stress was not in the picture. You'll even start smelling things from times gone by.</p> <h2>11. Rearrange the Furniture</h2> <p>They say a change is as good as a rest. It's also a great way to take your mind off things, and look at the world through new eyes. Or in this case, from a new bedroom or living room.</p> <p>Rearranging the furniture is exercise, helping you exert energy. It's also really cathartic, giving you a new environment without spending anything more than a little of your time and effort. A rearranged room can make things feel fresh, and with some <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/06/experts-guide-to-feng-shui/">Feng Shui</a> added in, who knows? You could even improve your finances or your love life.</p> <h2>12. Soak Up Some Rays</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u784/beach-vacation-1704211-small.jpg" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/health-benefits-sunbathing-outweigh-skin-1874870">A study by Dermatologist Dr. Richard Weller</a> says that the benefits of sunbathing might outweigh the risks involved. The biggest one &mdash; low blood pressure. Yes, when the skin is exposed to sunlight it releases a compound called Nitric Oxide into the blood vessels. This helps lower blood pressure, which can assist in relieving stress. And let's not forget that Vitamin D is another benefit of sunbathing, which assists bone growth and boosts the immune system. No matter what, just getting outside is a great way to de-stress. (See also: 5<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">0+ Free Ways to Have Fun Outdoors</a>)</p> <h2>13. Concentrate on Your Breathing</h2> <p>It's another form of meditation, but one that doesn't require the same kind of commitment. Whether you're stuck in your cubicle at work, stressing out from another project, or you're at home with the kids who won't stop screaming, you can breathe. In, out; in out.</p> <h2>14. Make Faces in the Mirror</h2> <p>In other words, laugh. Make the time to stop taking life so seriously, even if it's just for a few minutes. Use props. Get some invisible tape out and turn your face into something from an episode of Face Off. It may seem silly (because it is), but even this small departure from reality can make a big difference to your day.</p> <h2>15. Play Like a Kid</h2> <p>How many kids do you know who are stressed out and feeling like life is all too much? Not many, right? Granted, they don't have the pressures and responsibilities of an adult, but they do have something we don't; playtime. From Lego and PlayDoh to jigsaw puzzles and Etch-A-Sketch, there are toys &quot;meant for kids&quot; that are just as fun for big kids to play with. Try it. I keep Lego and other mind-freeing toys in my office. Why should kids have all the fun?</p> <h2>16. Paint. Sketch. Sculpt. Free Your Mind</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u784/painting-4730493-small.jpg" /></p> <p>You don't have to be &quot;good&quot; at art. Just create. You may be surprised at just how much fun you have. When you're done, you could have some timeless memories for your walls.</p> <h2>17. Break Something</h2> <p>We all have some nasty old crockery in the basement or attic. Or some old ornaments that even Goodwill would be skeptical about accepting. Well, instead of throwing them in the trash, get one final use out of them. Find a place you're not going to do any damage, and throw those things down. Break 'em. Smash 'em. Annihilate 'em. If you've got an old baseball bat (and safety glasses and gloves), and something that needs to be &quot;disassembled,&quot; get to work. It's amazing how much stress you can relieve.</p> <h2>18. Scream</h2> <p>Let it all out. You can drive to a secluded spot. You can bury your face in a pillow (or three if you scream like a banshee). <a href="http://worldpulse.com/node/28602">The benefits of screaming are documented</a>, and yet it's a raw, human response to stress that we have taught ourselves to bury inside. Why? There's no harm in it. You aren't screaming at anyone else. You're just releasing some of the pressure, much like a pressure cooker. And when you're done, and your jaw is tired, and your throat is sore, your head will feel light as a feather.</p> <h2>19. Reduce Sugar and Caffeine Consumption</h2> <p>These stimulants are good at keeping us awake, alert, and energized, but they also fuel our stresses. Did you know that <a href="http://www.tasteforlife.com/nutrition-plus/conditions-treatments/free-yourself-caffeine-nicotine-and-sugar-addictions">just 15 oz. of coffee</a> (that's a Grande from Starbucks) is enough to raise your epinephrine levels by over 200%? Epinephrine is also known as adrenaline &mdash; and that can really pump up your stress levels. Sugar, too, is not your friend. Our bodies often crave sugar when we're stressed, due to a hormone called cortisol. But each too much sugar, you'll crash, gain weight, and have even more to stress about. Dump the coffee and sugary treats.</p> <h2>20. Concentrate on the Good Things</h2> <p>Stress can make us focus on the bad things in life, with blinders on. We don't look at everything that's right in our lives, we just obsess over the bad stuff. One way to get out of this depressing rut is to keep a gratitude journal. A simple <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GP16R0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000GP16R0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">$2 composition book</a> is all you need. And every day, you should take the time to write at least one thing you are grateful for in your life. Read it at the end of every week. You'll be amazed at how much you have.</p> <p>Remember &mdash; there are many different ways this has been written, but in short: &quot;Other people do not cause us stress. They merely cause or contribute to a situation, and it's our reaction to that situation that causes stress.&quot; Basically&hellip;we all have the power to rid our lives of stress.</p> <p><em>How do you eliminate stress?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself">12 Ways You Can Go Easier on Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever">Banish Stress: Easy Ways to Get Calm Now and Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-stressors-you-can-easily-eliminate-today">6 Little Stressors You Can Easily Eliminate Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-pieces-of-emotional-baggage-and-how-to-ditch-them">8 Common Pieces of Emotional Baggage (and How to Ditch Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress">13 Cheap Ways to Beat Stress</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development relaxation stress stress relief Mon, 16 Sep 2013 10:36:04 +0000 Paul Michael 983768 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Manage Powerful Emotions http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medium_5065354640.jpg" alt="A man without a shirt yells in anger." title="Angry Man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone has an emotion or set of emotions that feel more powerful to them than the rest. When these include the so-called negative emotions &mdash; sadness, anger, frustration, pain, etc. &mdash; it&rsquo;s easy to feel entirely engulfed when the emotion comes upon us.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re someone who struggles to cope with these strong feelings, or if the actions you&rsquo;ve chosen in response to those feelings have not been appropriate, take heart. Learning to respond well to strong feelings isn&rsquo;t easy, but following these steps can help give you the control you need to choose your responses well. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-control-anxiety-and-start-enjoying-more">How to Control Anxiety and Start Enjoying More</a>)</p> <h2>Pause</h2> <p>Even if you can&rsquo;t get out of whatever situation is causing the strong emotions, you can take a brief pause. Many times, all you need are a few seconds between the onset of the emotion and your response to ensure that you are in control and that you&rsquo;re not just responding with your first reaction.</p> <h2>Breathe</h2> <p>Everyone says it, but here&rsquo;s a news flash &mdash; they say it because it works! When you&rsquo;re feeling something that threatens to overwhelm you, take a deep breath. Then take another, and another, and within a few breaths, you will feel better. The feeling probably won&rsquo;t go away entirely, because strong emotions don&rsquo;t do that, but you will regain control over yourself.</p> <p>Most strong feelings initiate an adrenaline response. When you&rsquo;re pumped full of adrenaline, you&rsquo;re more likely to take actions that you&rsquo;ll regret later. Breathing deeply helps counteract that response.</p> <h2>Remind Yourself It&rsquo;s Temporary</h2> <p>Any feeling, no matter how strong, will eventually dissipate. There will come a time when you are not nearly as upset as you are when the feeling first hits. Reminding yourself of this can help you calm down quickly.</p> <p>Tell yourself, over and over, &quot;This is a feeling. It will pass.&quot; While the offense or situation that caused the feeling will still exist, knowing that you can deal with it after the feeling dissipates will help you regain a sense of power in the situation.</p> <h2>Get Yourself Alone</h2> <p>If at all possible, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">find some way to be alone</a> before you have to respond to the situation. If this won&rsquo;t work in your situation, then take some time to be alone afterwards. Being alone will give you some time and space to process what happened, why it upset you so much, and what you can do to respond to the situation (or whether you responded the way you&rsquo;d like to respond).</p> <h2>Let It Out</h2> <p>If you need to, find some way to get the strong emotion out of you. For some people, breathing deeply achieves this. Others, though, will want to hit or kick something (if this is you, invest in a punching bag, please!), yell, cry, or talk to a friend. The important thing is that you learn what works for you and that you apply it.</p> <p>Getting a feeling out not only means that you don&rsquo;t have to keep feeling it, but it also means that you won&rsquo;t carry it around. Unexpressed feelings can fester inside a person, leaving them tired and, sometimes, bitter and difficult. Get your feelings out, and move on.</p> <h2>Choose Your Actions</h2> <p>Once your feelings are out, or managed as best you can in the situation, choose how you want to respond to whatever caused the powerful emotion in the first place. Remember, your emotion and your action are always two separate things. Just because you&rsquo;re feeling a certain way does not mean that you have to respond with a certain action. You&rsquo;re in the driver&rsquo;s seat, and so you can choose the response that is most helpful in your particular situation.</p> <p>In nearly every circumstance, calmer is better. The more you can remain calm in the face of your strong emotion, the more appropriate and effective your response will be. You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">communicate strong emotions calmly</a>, which gives the other person the chance to respond in kind.</p> <p>When you&rsquo;ve chosen your action, follow through with it. Seeing positive results from this will help you choose to manage your emotions and choose your responses next time, too.</p> <p><em>How do you manage your strong emotions?</em>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-clear-your-mind">8 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-worrying">How to Stop Worrying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever">Banish Stress: Easy Ways to Get Calm Now and Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-stay-grounded-even-when-super-busy">12 Ways to Stay Grounded Even When Super Busy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development anger management calm relaxation Tue, 19 Mar 2013 10:24:41 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 969860 at http://www.wisebread.com When Multitasking Can Work http://www.wisebread.com/when-multitasking-can-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-multitasking-can-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2591454436_2d316a1820.jpg" alt="A boy in the park reads and texts at the same time." title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not news by now that multitasking is not really a useful strategy to get more done. If you&rsquo;re working on a task that needs your attention, the task will suffer if you try to share your focus with another task. But there are some situations when multitasking can make sense. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking">The Fallacy of Multitasking</a>)</p> <p>Finding those situations requires taking a broader look at what multitasking is.</p> <h2>Filling Empty Task Downtime</h2> <p>Literally doing two things at once won't work well, but there are plenty of situations where you can set yourself up to accomplish a lot during the downtime a particular task requires.</p> <p>Consider what it takes to do the laundry with the help of modern appliances. You&rsquo;ll need to sort your clothes and put them in the washing machine. Then you&rsquo;ve got a big chunk of time before you need to move those clothes to the dryer. You&rsquo;ve got another chunk of time there, until you can take the clothes out of the dryer, and, if you&rsquo;re on top of things, fold those clothes. Planning your day to make full use of the time you have to wait to complete other tasks is a more practical approach to multitasking.</p> <h2>Know Your Schedule</h2> <p>In order to find those pockets of time when you can accomplish more than just watching the minutes tick by on the clock, you&rsquo;ll need to know what it&rsquo;s going to take to actually do the tasks on your to-do list. If you don&rsquo;t have both an understanding of when you&rsquo;ll have downtime and what you need to accomplish, you can&rsquo;t put together the puzzle of what you can do when. It&rsquo;s like having a bunch of puzzle pieces with no idea of what the final product should look like.</p> <p>You won&rsquo;t always be able to fill every hole in your calendar ahead of time. But as you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-have-it-all-4-tips-for-doing-more-with-your-time">more aware of how you spend your time</a>, you can start looking for opportunities to do a little more. It&rsquo;s not a bad idea to keep your task list with you at all times, particularly if you can note items that you can do quickly, while you&rsquo;re waiting. Knowing the difference between what you can do in 10 minutes and what will take longer is an important step. Otherwise, you can spend the entire time you have available trying to figure out what you can accomplish in that slot.</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Take It Too Far</h2> <p>You can accomplish a lot in the time you spend talking to your friends when hanging out. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean that you should. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">You shouldn&rsquo;t fight to fill every moment of your day with work</a>. It&rsquo;s easy to get caught up in things, especially considering that many of us have smartphones in our pockets full of things we could be doing right now. However, most of us know when we really ought to be paying attention to the people we&rsquo;re with.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s harder to make a decision to not try to cram in another task when we need some downtime. Just the same, though, it&rsquo;s OK to just sit quietly and think, sometimes. There are days that the best use of your time while waiting for the laundry to run is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-choose-traditional-books-over-e-books">relaxing with a book</a> or even a nap. That&rsquo;s perfectly fine.</p> <p>Find a combination that works for you. Multitask when you&rsquo;ve got downtime during specific tasks and need to accomplish more, but don&rsquo;t be afraid to choose to do nothing.</p> <p><em>What strategies are you using to fill your downtime with productive action (or quality relaxation)?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-multitasking-can-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-can-bend-time-to-improve-your-life">10 Ways You Can Bend Time to Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it">The Time Management Problem Most of Us Have — and How to Fix It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-number-one-tip-for-college-students">My Number One Tip for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-it">10 Ways to Save Time by Spending Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity multitasking relaxation time management Tue, 12 Mar 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Thursday Bram 969711 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-clear-your-mind <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-simple-ways-to-clear-your-mind" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3290970519_2d6de72989_z.jpg" alt="calm woman" title="calm woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are days where you can't seem to free your mind from all your woes. Figuring out how to unravel a busy mind can create an even bigger challenge. The brain is an amazing thing, and sometimes simply tricking it into thinking it is serene and clear is the only way to unwind and recharge. During high-stress moments or while accomplishing basic tasks, here are a few tricks and tips for clearing your mind, paving the way for a great day full of smart decisions.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Relaxation-Ideas-28158788">RELATED: 12 Ideas for Taking a Mental Health&nbsp;Day</a></p> <h2>1. Write It Out</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When you're flustered, spend a few minutes free-writing about your problems, which may help release them from your mind. Putting your concerns to paper helps your brain work through your problems, clearing thoughts and allowing you to move on. And once you're done writing, close the journal, keeping your thoughts tucked away in the pages, and not in your brain.</p> <h2>2. Get Some Fresh Air</h2> <p>A simple change of scenery helps clear the mind and refresh the brain. Go for a long walk or sit outside and take a few deep breaths. Breathing slowly and mindfully activates the brain to release neurohormones that inhibit stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body.</p> <h2>3. Get Distracted</h2> <p>When your brain's in overdrive, give it something different to think about. Play a game, read a book, or watch a movie. While you are taking a vacation from your pressing thoughts, you brain just might come up with some fresh ideas, giving you a new perspective on your problems.</p> <h2>4. Clean Your House</h2> <p>When you can't turn off your brain, put your body to work and clean your house. While you're scrubbing the tub, imagine cleaning out your brain, removing each thought that's bothering you one at a time. By the time your house is sparkling clean, your brain will be wonderfully clear too.</p> <h2>5. Smell the Flowers</h2> <p>That's right &mdash; take a break and smell the flowers. Stop being so hard on yourself, and snap out of it. Sometimes simply telling yourself that you've had enough stress and anxious thoughts tricks the brain into turning off. Stay positive, give yourself a quick pep talk, and before you know it, your brain will be clear.</p> <h2>6. Think About It</h2> <p>Meditate on what's bothering you, imagining working out your problems step by step. Project yourself into the future, to a moment where you are happy and calm, and then work backward, figuring out what happens along the path to serenity.</p> <h2>7. Don't Worry About Time</h2> <p>When a busy brain is keeping you up all night, don't worry about time. Unplug the clock, set an alarm somewhere else in your house, safeguard so you won't be late for work, and relax. This way, losing sleep doesn't top the list of things making your brain busy.</p> <h2>8. Share Away</h2> <p>Clear the air by talking it out with a good friend. Call someone who's willing to lend a good listening ear, and share every thought that's bugging you. Along with sharing, chatting with a friend may offer new ideas for solving problems. Don't forget to return the favor in the near future to your attentive confidant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Between managing work, family, friends, and more, it&#039;s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. Instead, take a moment to relax with one of these suggestions. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Why-Youre-Motivated-26825177">5 Reasons Why&nbsp;You're Not Motivated</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Common-Negative-Thoughts-24911192">Overcome These 5 Negative Thoughts</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Increase-Energy-24632215">7 Ways to Boost Energy and Get More Done</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-clear-your-mind">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions">6 Ways to Manage Powerful Emotions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">25 Ways to Take Five Minutes for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-search-of-silence">In Search of Silence: 4 Ways to Get Peace and Quiet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-worrying">How to Stop Worrying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development calm quiet relaxation Mon, 04 Mar 2013 10:48:31 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 968713 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Take Five Minutes for Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4560723165_9fb12caaa8_z.jpg" alt="blowing bubbles" title="blowing bubbles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking time for yourself may seem impossible if you're the type of person who packs your daily schedule, or if you tend to overcommit your time. Even taking a five-minute break seems unrealistic to parents and those of us with busy lifestyles. But there may be ways to take a time out for yourself that you haven't thought of, or it may just take a little more dedication to self-care to get those extra few moments to yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to&nbsp;Reward Yourself Right Now</a>)</p> <p>Whether you're at the office or at home, making sure you get some alone time is an important part of emotional well-being and maintaining balance in your life. Here are some suggestions for ways to ensure that you get at least five minutes focusing on yourself. While some of these are purely for fun, others are more practical ways to snag some time to yourself <em>and</em> accomplish those little tasks you've been putting off.</p> <h3>1. Take Fresh-Air Breaks at Work</h3> <p>Take a five minute break from your computer and walk around the building, or just go outside to get some fresh air. If you work at a computer all day, it is important to take regular breaks from the screen. Screen breaks not only help save your eyesight and prevent headaches, but they can also promote productivity. For more reasons to take five and go for a walk, check out Paul's article on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">benefits of walking. </a></p> <h3>2. Make Yourself a Cup of Tea</h3> <p>Whether you're an herbal tea drinker or a green tea fan, taking time to slow brew a cup of tea is a great way to get an extra five minutes of quiet solitude. Five minutes is a good average seeping time for most types of tea. In the winter, take the prevention route by brewing echinacea or ginger tea.</p> <h3>3. Five-Minute Meditation</h3> <p>Normally I'm one of those people who cannot clear my head when I meditate, but recently a friend and meditation guru introduced me to a method that really worked for me. Pick a phrase or mantra that is meaningful to you. Set a timer, close your eyes, and repeat the words silently in your head for five minutes. If you can't think of a phrase, try repeating something that you are thankful for.</p> <h3>4. Write a Thank You Note</h3> <p>Speaking of being thankful, writing a thank you note to someone is a great way to show your gratitude and sharpen your letter-writing skills at the same time, and it doesn't have to be something specific. It's a small gesture, but a simple thank you goes a long way.</p> <h3>5. Start Your Bucket List</h3> <p>Five minutes may not be enough time to write down all the things you'd like to do in your life, but you can at least get your bucket list started. Set a timer and just start writing. Don't worry about making your list extravagant. Taking five to dream about the places you'd like to travel or goals you want to set for yourself can also be a good way to look back on everything you've accomplished.</p> <h3>6. Make a Flower Arrangement</h3> <p>Even if you don't consider yourself a creative person, you'd be surprised at how relaxing it is to make a simple flower arrangement or centerpiece for your dining room or kitchen table. You don't even need flowers for a centerpiece. Pine cones, fruit, or any materials you find around the house or in your yard can also work.</p> <h3>7. Read a Short Article About Something You Are Interested In</h3> <p>Reading has lost much of its allure now that there's a wealth of television and film that can be watched instantly online. Taking five minutes to read an article or blog post about one of your interests is one way to sharpen reading skills and engage with the world around you while taking a few moments of solitude.</p> <h3>8. Five-Minute Stretches</h3> <p>There are plenty of stretches you can do to help maintain flexibility and prevent sore muscles, even if you only take five minutes to stand up and stretch at the office. Check out Meg's article, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don't Make You Look Silly</a>, for more ideas on ways to get exercise during short breaks at work.</p> <h3>9. Call a Time Out for Yourself</h3> <p>This is a great one for parents. Instead of calling a time out for the kids, call an official time out for yourself. Take a few moments and let someone else watch the kids while you go to your room to meditate, stretch, or just sit in silence. No matter where you take your time out, try to find somewhere quiet.</p> <h3>10. Quick Foot Soak</h3> <p>Give your feet a rest with a five-minute foot soak in the tub or a water basin. Soaking in bath salts is an excellent way to take some time to yourself, relax, and ease tired feet. You don't need to buy expensive salts. A cup of Epsom salt will work fine, or for added relaxation and aromatherapy, you can sprinkle in dried herbs such as lavender or chamomile.</p> <h3>11. Walk the Dog</h3> <p>Taking the dog for a quick walk by yourself is another way to get away from the family or coworkers for five minutes. If you work in a dog-friendly office, let your coworkers take turns with walking your dog; it's a great way to give your dog some extra exercise and promote a healthy work environment.</p> <h3>12. Breathing Exercises</h3> <p>Like stretching, doing a few simple breathing exercises or taking a few long, deep breaths can help ease tension and give you some down time. For more ideas, read Sasha's breathing tip in her article, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">Super Solid Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a>.</p> <h3>13. Start a Budget</h3> <p>While this may not be the most relaxing way to spend five minutes for yourself, it is a practical way to get some alone time and initiate a more financially responsible lifestyle. If you aren't sure how to get started, look at David's post, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget">8 Tips for Improving or Starting a Budget</a>.</p> <h3>14. Plan a Vacation or Weekend Getaway</h3> <p>You may not be able to plan all the details of your next vacation or weekend getaway in five minutes, but you can definitely get started. Like the bucket list, just start writing down your ideas.</p> <h3>15. Call an Old Friend</h3> <p>With social media and all the communication technology available today, some people rarely make a phone call to catch up with an old friend. Of course, it may turn into more than five minutes, but it's a way to connect with an old friend with more than just posting something on a Facebook wall.</p> <h3>16. Do Some Online Bargain Shopping</h3> <p>If you're a regular Wise Bread reader, you are probably a frugal shopper. Take five minutes to compare prices and find great deals on an item on your shopping list.</p> <h3>17. Start a Blog</h3> <p>Ever wanted to start a blog but didn't think you had the time?&nbsp;Now's your chance. It takes about five minutes to set up a basic account for a blog. I find that WordPress is one of the more user-friendly blog sites, and you can always go back and change your design or add photos and a bio. Why not get started now?</p> <h3>18. Take a Quick Bike Ride</h3> <p>Like walking, riding a bike is a great way to get exercise and time for yourself. Cycling is also ideal for people who have knee or lower back problems.</p> <h3>19. Build a Fire</h3> <p>This one may not be for everyone, but I love building fires whenever I visit friends who own a wood-burning stove or fireplace. Getting up early to start the first fire gives you some time to yourself before everyone else wakes up, and it's also practical. If you don't own a fireplace, you can always get up early to start that first pot of coffee.</p> <h3>20. Eat a Piece of Chocolate</h3> <p>This one is purely for indulgence. I don't know if all the claims about the benefits of dark chocolate are true, but antioxidants or not, I can't think of anyone who doesn't love sitting down and enjoying a piece of chocolate.</p> <h3>21. Drink a Glass of Water</h3> <p>Hydration is important whether you are at work, home, or school. Most people don't realize that they aren't drinking enough water. The standard goal is to aim for 64 ounces of water a day. Take five minutes to make sure you get in another eight ounces today.</p> <h3>22. Make Breakfast for Yourself</h3> <p>I'm a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make something you've never tried before or that you normally wouldn't eat because you don't have time. You can make eggs and toast in about five minutes.</p> <h3>23. Blow Bubbles</h3> <p>On a recent vacation, I happened to notice a bubble machine in a second-story window of a busy square. Watching the bubbles float down to the ground was so peaceful that I decided to buy some the next time I see them at a store. Indulge the kid inside and get a bottle for yourself.</p> <h3>24. Paint Your Toenails</h3> <p>Normally, I don't take the time to paint my toenails, but I find that it can be as relaxing and meditative as painting a picture or room. It's also less time-consuming and a little cheaper. If you just aren't into that kind of thing, get a watercolor kit or stain a piece of furniture.</p> <h3>25. Take a Five-Minute Nap</h3> <p>There's a lot to be said for the power nap. I find that when I'm exhausted, even a five-minute nap can be refreshing and provide an excellent opportunity to get some alone time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-clear-your-mind">8 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work">13 Hacks to Avoid Burnout at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity free time healthy quiet relaxation Thu, 25 Oct 2012 10:36:34 +0000 Ashley Watson 954957 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Free or Cheap Ways to Be Blissfully Unproductive http://www.wisebread.com/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paddleboat%20bliss.jpg" alt="paddleboat fun" title="paddleboat fun" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I often think I should be productive even in my downtime. I don't want to live slothfully and, well, there's always something important to do. And, as I pursue professional opportunities that mesh with my personal interests and vice versa, then much of my leisure time becomes filled with activities that can reap rewards in all aspects of my life.</p> <p>Certainly, there are productive activities that are fun to me, beneficial to my well-being, and professionally inspirational. I really like reading about business trends and strategies, watching culturally relevant television shows and movies, sprinting for better fitness, de-cluttering for a clearer state of mind, trying new recipes and cooking to save money, doing volunteer work to improve myself and my community, and designing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-own-amortization-schedule-0">spreadsheets</a>. But I wonder if I should try to squeeze value out of every moment.</p> <p>I can justify my frivolity by saying that being unproductive on occasion boosts productivity at other times. That may be true, but it misses the point entirely. And, though I believe that I should be a good steward of my time, I also think that I should savor unproductive pursuits purely for their own sake. If collateral benefits are derived, that is wonderful. However, the real purpose is to <a href="http://zenhabits.net/kill-time/">enjoy the present moment</a>.</p> <p>If you are looking for more joy in your life and want to have free or cheap fun (specifically the kind that does not involve being connected with technology), consider some of these ways to be blissfully unproductive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">How Less Creativity Can Make You More Creative</a>)</p> <h3>1. Make Someone Laugh</h3> <p>There are many ways to make someone else laugh that are genuinely funny and don't involve rudeness or putdowns. For example, I tell stories about myself that reveal quirky behaviors and extreme fears, which turn out to be unfounded. My teenage son shares humorous observations about the flawed-but-accepted-as-normal thinking of adults. My husband imitates people from our shared past, capturing their personalities through accents and inflections.</p> <p>You might develop formulas for joke telling, like the way a couple of my friends do. They'll see a company name like &quot;Speedy Transport&quot; emblazoned on the cab of a tractor-trailer and say something like, &quot;Speedy Transport. Yeah, business really picked up after we changed the name from Sluggish Transportation.&quot; The humor is not so much in the words but in the delivery and surprising silliness from otherwise-serious businesspeople.</p> <h3>2. Watch People Do Things You&rsquo;d Never Do</h3> <p>I love to watch people do daring activities that I have no intention of trying but nevertheless find intriguing. Your list may be different, but mine includes rock climbing, hang gliding, and kayaking. I don't go out of my way to observe people involved with these things. But if I happen to see someone navigating a Class III or IV rapid in a decked kayak after I have finished canoeing, or if I catch a glimpse of a hang glider or rock climber when I am hiking, then I'll stick around a while.</p> <p>Because I have neither immediate plans nor long-term goals of trying or mastering these activities, this time is unproductive. I am not picking up tips or observing technique. I just like watching them.</p> <h3>3. Listen to Outdoor Creatures</h3> <p>When I traveled to Minnesota several years ago, one of the sounds that I learned to love is the <a href="http://blog.syracuse.com/indepth/2008/07/audio_hear_the_calls_of_the_co.html">loon's call</a>. I associated these voices with peacefulness, serenity, and the timelessness of the outdoors and wilderness. Closer to home, I like to hear critters outside (preferably at a distance) such as a cicadas, crickets, and frogs at night and birds in the morning.</p> <p>If you like these sounds, you&rsquo;ll find being outside and listening to them naturally blissful.</p> <h3>4. Ride Paddleboats in a Park</h3> <p>I am not quite sure of the original use of paddleboats. They seem to exist as a way for municipal parks to generate income and provide entertainment to little kids, young teens, and their parents. Unlike canoes and sailboats, which have value for transporting people and goods, the paddleboat is good for 30-minute segments of unproductivity.</p> <h3>5. Stroll Through a Public Arboretum or Garden</h3> <p>Though I hope to move beyond weed puller to fruit-and-vegetable grower one day, I am not a gardener. So visiting an arboretum, greenhouse, or garden doesn't give me ideas or inspirations that are useful to my efforts. Seeing flowers, trees, and plants is just a pleasant way to pass the time. Some sites charge but many are available to strollers for free.</p> <h3>6. Gaze at Clouds and Tell What They Look Like</h3> <p>Looking at clouds and describing what earthly objects they remind you of is the perennial, classic way to be unproductive. Lay directly on the grass or on a blanket for greater comfort. Relax and share what you &quot;see&quot; with a friend or family member.</p> <h3>7. Read a Book Void of Cultural, Societal, or Historical Value</h3> <p>I often consume media in order to become a better _______ (fill-in-the-blank): writer, parent, citizen, party guest, advocate, businessperson, volunteer, etc. I do enjoy learning and growing, and hopefully becoming more interesting. But not all books or other types of media (movies, magazines, TV) have to be relevant to personal and professional goals.</p> <p>Just as Gretchen Rubin talks about in <em>The Happiness Project</em>, I can choose to love something (like <a href="http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2010/08/read-about-my-childrens-literature-reading-groups-in-the-new-york-times/">children's literature for Gretchen</a>) just because I do. Read for pleasure, not just to become enlightened.</p> <h3>8. Experience the Past</h3> <p>It can be fun to patronize a long-established country store, especially if &mdash; like me &mdash; you grew up frequenting 7-11's and other modern-day convenience stores. Or you might enjoy navigating with a paper map and compass, testing your abilities to see if you can find your way without a GPS.</p> <p>Sure, historical knowledge and skills could come in handy one day. But the idea is to do something out of your ordinary pattern just for kicks</p> <h3>9. Look at Old Photos and Scrapbooks</h3> <p>Looking through old photos and scrapbooks can make you smile and recall some things you did simply for fun. You don't have to post them online or organize them. Just enjoy the memories.</p> <h3>10. Throw a Cheap Party</h3> <p>Invite friends over for ice cream or popsicles in the summer and spring. Host the party outside so that you don't have to clean inside (though you might want to tidy up the bathroom) and so kids can play while the parents talk. If you don't have the front porch or backyard for a get-together, consider meeting up at a local park or reserving space there for a couple of hours.</p> <p>Host a chili party in the fall or winter, and let people bring a favorite topping if they insist on contributing something. Enjoy the company and conversation.</p> <h3>11. Watch a Pick-Up Game (or Be Part of One)</h3> <p>If there are public playgrounds or schools with open fields and outdoor basketball courts in your town, then you can watch a soccer match or play in a pick-up game. Though there are probably organized games for kids that may be interesting, it's nice to happen upon an informal, impromptu gathering.</p> <p>Last year, when I went to my son's high school to watch him in the football team's first scrimmage for the season, a couple of little kids were playing their own football game as I sat on the practice-field bleachers. Unlike many older students, they weren't marketing themselves as well-rounded student-athletes or potential scholarship athletes. They were just having fun. Watching them reminded me that sports can be about sheer joy.</p> <h3>12. Wade in a River, Stream, Lake, or Ocean</h3> <p>Wading is best done as an impulsive response, not a planned activity. Instead of hesitating when you come to a stream, peel off your socks and shoes, roll up your pants, walk in, and let the water soothe you.</p> <h3>13. Walk at Sunrise or Dusk</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m not a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person">morning person</a>, so I tend to take walks closer to dusk. Whether I take in a sunrise or a sunset, I like to see how the light changes the landscape as the sun moves above and below the horizon.</p> <p><em>What do you like to do that is blissfully unproductive but also free or cheap? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-free-ways-to-get-out-of-the-house">7 Free Ways to Get Out of the House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-seattle">Free and Cheap Things to Do in Seattle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/53-fun-nights-out-for-10-or-less">53 Fun Nights Out for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-multitasking-can-work">When Multitasking Can Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Productivity free things to do frugal fun relaxation Tue, 24 Jul 2012 10:00:35 +0000 Julie Rains 942735 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop Worrying http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-worrying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-worrying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_girl.jpg" alt="Worried girl" title="Worried girl" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Regardless of what the problem is, worrying itself never helps anything. To effectively deal with problems, you have to first deal with worrying. This will leave you in the right place to deal with your problems, be they financial, professional, or personal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/99-free-or-virtually-free-ways-to-de-stress">99 Free or Virtually Free Ways to De-Stress</a>)</p> <h2>Allow a Period for Worry</h2> <p>First, allow yourself time to worry. Trying to force yourself not to worry about things is a sure recipe for making yourself worry more. Set an egg timer for five minutes. When the egg timer goes off, your period for worrying is done. This allows you to &ldquo;get it out&rdquo; while also putting it behind you.<o:p></o:p></p> <h2>Progressive Relaxation</h2> <p>Progressive relaxation is a great way to rid your body of stress. The body and mind are not as separate as many people think. Stress in your body manifests as stress in the mind and vice versa. Progressive relaxation is a way to address this.</p> <ol> <li>Take 20 deep breaths.</li> <li><o:p></o:p>Tense the feet for 10 seconds, release the tension for 10 deep breaths, then tense the feet again.</li> <li>Repeat step two up your body doing calves, thighs, pelvic area, abdomen, chest, arms, hands, neck, and face.</li> <li><o:p></o:p>Lay on your back for five minutes taking deep breaths.</li> </ol> <p>Progressive relaxation is one of those things that sounds like it won&rsquo;t work, but works very well. Try it out and see if it doesn&rsquo;t help clear your head of worrying.</p> <h2>Deal With the Problem</h2> <p>Some problems cannot be dealt with. Others have solutions or ways to mitigate damages. Begin planning how you are going to tackle the problem. Don&rsquo;t stress over whether or not you will succeed. Rather, think clearly and carefully about what you can do to address the problem at hand. If you find that you can&rsquo;t come up with any solutions at the time, go do something to take your mind off the problem, then come back to it. If you find that you are too worried to think about the problem, try more progressive relaxation, then get back to the problem.</p> <h2>Not Stressing About Money</h2> <p>If money is your problem, there are ways to deal with your fiscal stressors proactively:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">Build up a savings reserve</a>. This will give you money for a rainy day.</li> <li>Start paying off debt. Making significant inroads on debt always feels good.</li> <li>Consolidate bills wherever possible. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student loans</a> are a commonly consolidated form of debt.</li> <li>Quit looking at your 401(k) constantly. Your repeated views do nothing but stress you out.</li> <li>Get ahead on your bills. Being one month in advance on your bills is a far better feeling than being one month behind.</li> </ul> <p>Not all of these may be feasible with your financial situation. However, you should implement the ones that are. Not only does it make good financial sense, it also gives you less reason to stress over money.</p> <h2>The Importance of Getting Rid of Worry</h2> <p>Worry and stress are not the same thing. While stress can be a useful goad toward action, worry is little more than a spiral of inaction. Ridding your brain of worry will free up your mind to proactively tackle problems. This, in turn, will give you less to worry about. Attacking worry has a cyclical effect in this manner. While it might take some time to see results, strategically dealing with your worry will pay dividends over the long term.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-worrying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-control-anxiety-and-start-enjoying-more">How to Control Anxiety and Start Enjoying More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-preserve-your-relationships-when-circumstances-change">How to Preserve Your Relationships When Circumstances Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever">Banish Stress: Easy Ways to Get Calm Now and Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions">6 Ways to Manage Powerful Emotions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development dealing with stress relaxation stop worrying Mon, 28 Nov 2011 10:48:28 +0000 Nicholas Pell 797316 at http://www.wisebread.com Super Solid Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5197332965_4b69ee79ef_z.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We are totally slammed pretty much all the time &mdash; bombarded by things to do, obligations to fulfill, places to go. There&rsquo;s hardly a moment to relax and stretch out our muscles. Finding even a second of respite can be a challenge. And that&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m all about the short spurts of yoga exercises to help me relax and get focused on my inner core.</p> <h3>Take a Deep Breath</h3> <p>Deep breathing is one of the easiest and fastest ways to relax and focus. Start at the bottom of your lungs and work your way up to the top. Fill your entire diaphragm with air, hold for a few moments, and then release slowly in reverse &mdash; starting at the top and working your way back down. With each breath out, picture any negativity or stress leaving your body. With each breath in soak up positivity and thoughts of what you want to have in your life. It&rsquo;s a great way to clear your mind quickly.</p> <h3>Chant Your Stress Away</h3> <p>Not just for the practicing meditator, who has way more discipline than I do to meditate for half an hour or an hour twice a day. Lots of books out there offer a ton of options for how to pick a mantra. I personally like Sanskrit words not only because they sound so beautiful, but because they are so rarely spoken. Books like <em>The Bahagavad Gita</em> or <em>The Guru Gita</em> have several chants and phrases you can choose from. Whatever resonates with you is the right one to use. Once you&rsquo;ve picked a word that works, chant it for five or ten minutes every day or use it silently in your head whenever you encounter a moment of stress.</p> <h3>Visualize Where You Want to Go</h3> <p>Another way to develop stronger concentration skills is by practicing visualizations. Pick a quiet, calm spot to sit for a few minutes and decide what you would like to focus on. You can focus on a work issues, improving your health, or solving a relationship problem. Picture in full detail everything you would like to have happen exactly as you would like to have it happen. Focus on how you feel. If you feel good and joyful, you&rsquo;re on the right track. If you&rsquo;re feeling stress, perhaps you&rsquo;re trying to force something that isn&rsquo;t ready to happen. Do the same visualization every day for 30 days and see what happens.</p> <h3>Strike a Pose</h3> <p>Another sweet way to get your focus on is to hit the mat and get in a few poses. Shoulder stands and balancing poses, like the tree pose where you balance on one leg while focusing your eyes on a distant point right ahead of you, help you concentrate better. They can also improve your flexibility and your strength.</p> <p>Take a few moments to yourself and build some relaxation into your day.</p> <p><em>What kinds of tricks do you use to relieve stress and gather calm in a crazy, hectic day?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sasha-a-rae">Sasha A. Rae</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-might-be-breathing-wrong-heres-what-you-should-do-instead">You Might Be Breathing Wrong — Here&#039;s What You Should Do Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-that-pay-you-to-exercise">5 Apps That Pay You To Exercise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-free-or-cheap-yoga-classes">Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress">13 Cheap Ways to Beat Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-worrying">How to Stop Worrying</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Personal Development relaxation stress management yoga Fri, 11 Mar 2011 13:00:08 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 503125 at http://www.wisebread.com Focus Focus Fo....What Was I Saying? http://www.wisebread.com/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bang%20head%20here.gif" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="249" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> <meta http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><br /> <title></title><br /> <meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice.org 3.0 (Win32)" /></p> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --><!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We as a nation are looking at finances in a way we might not have ever done in the past. Having to analyze our bills, pay close attention to our usual spending <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-personal-finance-tips-you-dont-always-hear-about">habits,</a> and learn the hard lessons of frugality and good credit scores in a short period of time can wear just about anyone down. It is never easy starting over and in many cases, we as consumers are having to &ldquo;start over&rdquo; in some aspects. With the crazy economy and unfortunate job loss tallies, we are often overwhelmed with the amount of life lessons we need to relearn. We essentially have to figure out how to live life again and that can be stressful.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When life gets overwhelming, we need to focus on things one at a time. Unfortunately for many of us, we live chaotic schedules and find we must often multitask to keep feeling accomplished. This multitasking may seem affective but will eventually take its toll. It is difficult to think that we actually need to slow down and re-prioritize our lives but that is exactly what we need to do in order to take stock of our lives, review our personal financial health, and keep our own health in check. With so many of &ldquo;average&rdquo; Americans on stress medication and blood pressure pills, it is more than apparent we as a society need to slow down. Slowing down on a national level isn't likely anytime soon but you can learn to start these pacing habits at home for the good of you and your family.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong>Here are some tips to help you learn how to pace yourself. Most of these tips can be easily inserted into your daily life right now and give long-lasting effects. </strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Prioritize</strong></em> &ndash; Okay, so you've got a lot going on in your life each day but do your really know what is going on? Taking the time to prioritize your life each day can help you actually see all the things your feel responsible for accomplishing. Putting your to-do's in ink may help you realize your to-do list is entirely too long. Look at the things that encompass basic needs: food, shelter, clothing. Prioritze from there. Make sure you are paying the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-check-if-your-mortgage-statement-is-correct">mortgage</a> and utilities, have something to make for dinner, and your family has clean clothes. After that, prioritize what is left over in the order of importance. Then look over your list and see what really isn't that important but still causes you stress. Having a list in ink also help you feel accomplished each time you check off another item.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Delegate</strong></em> &ndash; If you have seemingly a million things going on each day, the chances are great that all these tasks are not yours alone. Unless you get paid to do all of these tasks for others because it is how you make your living, you are liking picking up the slack for family and friends. Instead of stressing yourself out on behalf of others, start handing out to-do lists to others. Face it, those who burden you with things to do don't feel much guilt so neither should you. Make mini to-do lists for kids and your spouse. It may be initially hard to let go some control but if you want to live a more stress free life, you'll learn early on that you can't do everything and will respect everyone else's efforts.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Unwind</strong></em> &ndash; People who work all day, even through lunch times and other supposed periods of rest, are not doing themselves much good by not stopping for deserved break from time to time. If you go, go, go and don't stop to unwind, your body may be the thing that ultimately slows you down. Take time each day to eat at least one decent meal while not on the run and at the end of each evening, turn off the distractions (tv's, phones, music) and just focus on your breathing for at least 10 minutes before going to bed.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Just Say No</strong></em> &ndash; If you are a &ldquo;yes&rdquo; person, it is likely that you find it hard to say &ldquo;no&rdquo; and even more likely that most people already know you will say yes so they come to you for help. While there is nothing wrong with helping others, there is only so much you can do. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed and someone asks you to do something, don't be afraid to decline. Simply explain that you have a lot on your plate at the moment and that you will be more than happy to help in the future if need be. If you are upfront and honest, most people will be more than understanding. Those that aren't will eventually get over it. It's up to you to protect your health, your time, and your life in general.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Press Stop</strong></em> &ndash; If you find that you are just entirely too stressed out about certain tasks you usually complete, such as paying bills or balancing your checkbook, just press the stop button and formulate a plan to find someone else to tackle the task. Have your spouse take over the bill paying or grocery shopping on a permanent basis if you just can't do it any longer. Stop signing your kids up for every extra-curricular activity at school and spend some old-fashioned quality time with the family instead of chauffeuring them around town all week.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Only you will know when you are at your breaking point and there is no point in getting yourself out of whack when you really do not have to be. If you allow yourself to change your thinking and you are really committed to making strides to reduce your stress and the chaos of your day, than you can incorporate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organized-tips-on-getting-through-tough-times">healthier habits</a> into your life right now. It is all a process but one that might be worth a try.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress">13 Cheap Ways to Beat Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-when-your-spouse-is-suffering-from-burnout">How to Deal When Your Spouse is Suffering From Burnout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-key-to-frugality-avoid-the-fear-tax">The Key to Frugality: Avoid the Fear Tax</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever">Banish Stress: Easy Ways to Get Calm Now and Forever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle anxiety changing habits delegating prioritizing relaxation stress Tue, 03 Feb 2009 04:13:32 +0000 Tisha Tolar 2806 at http://www.wisebread.com