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5-Minute Tools to Clear Your Mind

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In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, it is far too easy to get lost in your own mind, weighed down by the pile of thoughts about work, relationships, technology, and your social life. When there are a million different things that are all begging for your attention, it is easy to forget to take a moment for yourself and clear your head. Doing this can be hard, though. Sometimes, it feels like we need an entire day to fully recharge our batteries. While this might be the case, there are some ways to quickly bring your mind to a state of relaxation and help you get focused. Here are some 5-minute tools to clear your mind…

5-Minute Tools to Clear Your Mind

Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation is more of a skill than an activity, especially if you are trying to do it in a quick 5-minute period. However, learning to quickly put your mind in a state of meditation can help calm your nerves and focus your mind. Of all types of meditation, , as it helps bring your mind inward and helps you focus on your body and mind in a hyper-attentive way.

5-Minute Tools to Clear Your Mind

Step Outside for a Moment

If you’re ever feeling stressed or anxious, it’s worth it to take a step outside. Studies have shown that simply being outdoors , including reduce stress, reduce the effects of depression, and improve mental capacity. When things are getting busy and hectic in the office, taking a quick moment for yourself outside can help you calm yourself and put your mind in a clear and productive space. Obviously, it would be ideal to be in a greener, more natural area, but even just the fresh air can do wonders for your mind.

5-Minute Tools to Clear Your Mind

Stretch

If you are feeling tense and anxious, it’s important to remember that your physical well-being is probably feeding directly into your mental well-being. Because of this, when things get really stressful in life, remember to take a few minutes during the day to stretch your muscles and limbs. This helps relieve tension throughout your body, and can help prevent your muscles from tightening up, due to anxiety. A nice stretch will leave your mind feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the other tasks throughout the day.

5-Minute Tools to Clear Your Mind

Do Something Active

If you’ve been working on mental tasks all day, then your body is probably restless and your mind is getting worn down. To help achieve some balance, and to give your body a boost of endorphins that help you wake up and get focused, take some time to do something active. Go on a quick little run, play a game, or even just take a brief walk. Just make sure that it’s something active that gets you up on your feet.

5-Minute Tools to Clear Your Mind

Breathing Exercises

If you’re feeling incredibly anxious and stressed, then take a moment to do some simple breathing exercises. The simplest way to do this is to simply take deep breaths inwards and outwards, and to count the time in between each breath, all while focusing on a focal point in the distance. However, there are a wide variety of breathing exercises that you can look up to determine what works best for you.

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Have a Dedicated Space

Whether at work or at home, it’s nice to have an area that is specifically geared towards helping your mind think clearly. This can be a variety of things, whether it is an area that you walk to, a meditation spot, or even that is set up to cater to your specific needs. This space should be free from distractions, or at least the things that will distract you, and should be designated specifically to either do mental tasks or simply to clear your mind.

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Source: https://www.urbannaturale.com/clear-your-mind-5-minute-tools/

 

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Maintaining a Daily Rhythm Is Important For Mental Health,Study Suggests

Setting an alarm might be the only thing that helps you get up in the morning, but try setting one at night to remind you when it's time to go to bed. Click through our gallery for other tips for better sleep.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, looked at disruptions in the circadian rhythms — or daily sleep-wake cycles — of over 91,000 adults in the United Kingdom. It measured these disruptions using a device called an accelerometer that is worn on the wrist and measures one’s daily activity levels. The participants were taken from the UK Biobank, a large cohort of over half a million UK adults ages 37 to 73.
The researchers found that individuals with more circadian rhythm disruptions — defined as increased activity at night, decreased activity during the day or both — were significantly more likely to have symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder or major depression. They were also more likely to have decreased feelings of well-being and to have reduced cognitive functioning, based on a computer-generated reaction time test.
For all participants, activity levels were measured over a seven-day period in either 2013 or 2014, and mental health proxies such as mood and cognitive functioning were measured using an online mental health questionnaire that participants filled out in 2016 or 2017.
“It’s widely known that a good night’s sleep is a good thing for well-being and health. That’s not a big surprise,” said Dr. Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at the University of Glasgow and a leading author on the study. “But I think what’s less well-known and what comes out of this work is that not only is a good night’s sleep important, but having a regular rhythm of being active in daylight and inactive in darkness over time is important for mental well-being.”
The findings were found to be consistent even when controlling for a number of influential factors including age, sex, lifestyle, education and body mass index, according to Smith.
“I think one of the striking things that we found was just the consistency in the direction of our association across everything we looked at in terms of mental health,” Smith said.
Daily circadian rhythm is controlled by a collection of neurons in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus helps regulate a number of important behavioral and physiological functions such as body temperature, eating and drinking habits, emotional well-being and sleep, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
The findings are consistent with research indicating a link between sleep disruptions and mood disorders. A 2009 study, for example, showed that men who worked night shifts for four years or more were more likely to have anxiety and depression than those who work during the day.
However, the new study is the first to use objective measurements of daily activity and is among the largest of its kind, according to Aiden Doherty, senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, who was not involved in the research.
“This study is the first large-scale investigation of the association of objectively measured circadian rhythmicity with various mental health, well-being, personality and cognitive outcomes, with an unprecedented sample size of more than 90 000 participants,” Doherty wrote in an email.
“Previous studies have been very small (in just a few hundred people), or relied on self-report measures (asking people what they think they do). … However, this study used objective device-based measures in over 90,000 participants; and then linked this information to standard measures of mood disorders, subjective well-being, and cognitive function,” he added.
The findings have significant public health consequences, particularly for those who live in urban areas, where circadian rhythms are often disrupted due to artificial light, according to Smith.
“By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities, and we know that living in an urban environment can be pretty toxic to your circadian system because of all the artificial light that you’re exposed to,” Smith said.
“So we need to think about ways to help people tune in to their natural rhythms of activity and sleeping more effectively. Hopefully, that will protect a lot of people from mood disorders.”
For those who struggle to maintain a consistent circadian rhythm, certain strategies — such as avoiding technology at night — have proven to be an important part of good sleep hygiene.
“Not using your phone late at night and having a regular pattern of sleeping is really important,” Smith said. “But equally important is a pattern of exposing yourself to sunshine and daylight in the morning and doing activity in the morning or midday so you can actually sleep properly.”
Based on the observational nature of the study, the researchers were unable to show causality, meaning it is unclear whether the sleep disturbances caused the mental health problems or vice versa.
“It’s a cross-sectional study, so we can’t say anything about cause and effect or what came first, the mood disorder or the circadian disruption,” said Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.
“And it’s likely they affect each other in a circular fashion,” she added. The researchers also looked exclusively at adults between age 37 and 73, meaning the results may not apply to younger individuals, whose circadian rhythms are known to be different than those of older adults, according to Smith.
“The circadian system changes throughout life. If you’ve got kids, you know that very young kids tend to be nocturnal,” Smith said. “My suspicion is that we might observe even more pronounced effects in younger samples, but that hasn’t been done yet, to my knowledge.”
But the study adds more credence to the idea that sleep hygiene — including maintaining a consistent pattern of sleep and wake cycles — may be an important component of good mental health, according to Smith.
“It’s an exciting time for this kind of research because it’s beginning to have some real-world applications,” Smith said. “And from my point of view as a psychiatrist, I think it’s probably under-recognized in psychiatry how important healthy circadian function is, but it’s an area that we’re trying to develop.”

 May 15, 2018

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