Its kind of interesting that if you tell someone to relax, it often has the exact opposite result.  But today is a day to let all that go and just relax.

It's National Relaxation Day and if you often find it hard to relax, Mental Floss put together a list of 15 things you can do that are scientifically proven to help you de-stress and relax when you need to.

1.  Get a plant - studies have shown that having a plant can reduce stress and lower your heart rate...just by being around them.

2.  Avoid screen time before bed - Artificial light from TV and computer screens affects melatonin production and throws off circadian rhythms, which messes with your sleep

3.  Eat a banana - potassium helps regulate your blood pressure.  There's a lot of potassium in bananas.

4. Eat citrus - Vitamin C helps to alleviate the physical and psychological effects of stress.  There's a lot of vitamin c in citrus.  See where we are going with this?

5.  Listen to music - Classical music seems to work best, but according to this list, anything you enjoy listening to will help to calm your nerves too.

6.  Drink green tea with honey - Green tea contains L-theanine, which reduces stress, and honey—unlike cane sugar—has been shown to counteract free radicals and reduce inflammation

7.  Give yourself a hand massage - This one, you can do for yourself right at the desk.  Rub your paws...especially if you use them a lot for your job.

8.  Kiss! - No...not the need to lock lips with someone.  Kissing releases oxytocin, a chemical that is shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

9.  Chew gum - the act of chewing gum has been proven to lower cortisol and improve reported mood

10.  Blow up a balloon - this one is all about the breathing that you have to do.  The more oxygen your body gets, the better it feels.  So if you have to blow up a balloon, you really have to breathe in.  No balloons?  Concentrate on breathing for a bit.

11.  Mow the lawn - Yes...even work helps you to relax.  No only do you get to mark something off your "to do" list, but esearch shows that a chemical released by a mowed lawn—that fresh-cut grass smell—makes people feel happy and relaxed.

12.  Laugh - The act of laughing actually releases endorphins and helps your body relax.

13.  Chocolate - Remember those endorphins that are released from laughing....same thing for chocolate...only you get to eat some delicious chocolate.

14.  Relax all of your muscles - This one takes a little bit of concentration.  Take a few minutes to think about the muscles that are tense and try to release them one by one.

15.  Take a mental vacation - So maybe you don't have the vacation time or the money to take a trip to a Caribbean beach, but you can close your eyes and imagine yourself there right?  Just a few minutes of disengaging from your stressors rejuvenates your ability to tackle the work.


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