Sometimes we wonder how to feel happier, but aren’t sure how to achieve it. Therefore, we’ve come up with health and happiness boosters to improve your mood in just one minute! From trimming your waistline to revving your recall, you’d be amazed how much you can accomplish in just 60 seconds.
1. Slash stress and anxiety with a one-minute foot massage.
The many nerve endings in your feet are connected to so many parts of your body that simply massaging your feet can calm those nerves and quickly relax you, reveals Regalina Melrose author of The 60 Seconds Fix: The Brain Changing Toolkit That Stops Unwanted Habits and Starts Surprising Joy ($16.95, Amazon). The effect is so powerful that even a one-minute massage relaxes you by reducing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure.
To do: Using your thumbs, massage up and down the soles (and especially the balls of your feet) in firm circles.
2. Boost the benefit with aromatherapy oils.
A Japanese study found that people who massaged their feet with soothing lavender, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, or chamomile essential oils three times a week over four weeks saw significant reductions in blood pressure and anxiety.
To do: Mix a few of drops of the essential oil in almond, olive, jojoba, or sesame oil before applying to skin.
3. Rev your recall with a one-minute poetry slam.
The newest brain booster on the block? It’s poetry, reveals recent research in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. Turns out, saying or reading aloud short, lyrical lines from Shakespeare’s sonnets, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, or any other poet, lights up the right hemisphere of your brain the same way as music, which, in turn, sharpens your memory. The study also found that the patterns in poetry, rhyme, measured lines, etc. help improve problem-solving abilities, more so than reading a novel or non-fiction book.
4. Boost the benefit by reading a favorite.
When study participants read poems they were already familiar with, their brain regions got an even bigger memory boost. Having a meaningful or nostalgic tie to a poem appears to light up the language and emotional centers of your brain, enhancing your memory even more!
5. Zoom up the job ladder with a one-minute email.
According to Shawn Achor, MA, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work ($10.98, Amazon), 75 percent of success at work isn’t determined by your skills or smarts — it’s determined by your optimism, friendliness, and how well you deal with stress. And research shows, the easiest way to enhance those pillars of success is to send a short, friendly or supportive email to a coworker. In fact, folks who did this every day for 21 days reported being happier at work and more productive. And because happier employees outperform their grumpier colleagues nearly 60 percent, they’re twice as likely to be promoted!
6. Boost the benefit with emoticons.
A slew of studies show that our brains “read” a smiling emoticon just like a real human face, making us feel happier instantly. And smiling emoticons are just as appropriate (and effective!) in workplace emails as in personal messages. The proof: A University of Missouri-St. Louis study found that workers who received emails with emoticons perceived the sender as friendlier and more competent, even when they didn’t know the sender!
7. Start a healthy habit with a one-minute activation.
Think you need to make big changes to make a new, healthier habit stick? Not so! The hardest part of adopting a new habit is the taking the first step. Why? Because it requires what researchers call “activation energy,” enough motivation to get up and go. The great news? Ramping up your activation energy is as easy as taking one minute to prep in advance. For example, just placing your sneakers right next to your bed makes it much easier for you to jump up and go for walk in the morning. Or taking one minute before bed to chop up some celery sticks for lunch makes you much more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan the next day.
8. Boost the benefit by aiming for the a.m.
Convinced you lack willpower? Not so! Chances are you wake up with a lot of willpower, but it dwindles as the day goes on. So if you’re trying to start a new habit, say, to exercise for 15 minutes every day, aim to do it in the a.m. when your willpower is highest.
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