Looking for some simple ways to take your health journey to the next level? Great news! It’s easier than you think to tame stress, sharpen your memory, and up your energy fast. Keep reading for six ways to boost your health in 60 seconds — or less!
Smiles lift your mood in just 20 seconds.
Next time you’re feeling a little blue, try smiling for a moment or two. Even if you have to fake it, University of Kansas researchers say putting on an upbeat expression coaxes the brain to release a flood of feel-good endorphins that help you genuinely feel happier in as little as 20 seconds.
Banish stress by humming a tune.
In the middle of an already-hectic day, something else goes off course and you feel your stress levels ticking up. We’ve been there! Luckily, all you need to create calm again is to hum a verse or two of your favorite song. Humming for 30 seconds triggers rhythmic vibrations within the inner ear that spur the production of calming alpha brain waves. The effect is so powerful that Cornell University scientists say it can slash your tension levels by as much as 48 percent!
Swirling your pen across a piece of paper distracts your mind from worries and gives you an outlet for anxiety— something Drexel University scientists say lowers stress hormones.
Sharpen recall by shifting your eyes.
One easy way to stop brain blips: Slowly move your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds. Manchester Metropolitan University researchers in England say that doing so could improve your recall and short-term memory by as much as 42 percent for one hour. That’s because side-to-side eye movements perk up both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, improving communication between them and bolstering memory retention.
Curb cravings by texting a friend.
To dodge a diet-derailing snack attack, grab your phone and text a friend a quick note about the progress you’ve made toward smarter eating so far. Exchanging supportive messages with a loved one reminds you of your goals, doubling your odds of sticking to a healthy eating plan, Duke University researchers reveal. That extra motivation is enough to help you drop up to 6 pounds a month!
OR TAP YOUR FOREHEAD!
Place your finger on your right temple and tap across your forehead to your left temple, repeating back and forth for 30 seconds. A study presented at The Obesity Society’s Annual Meeting found this technique distracts the mind from the urge to eat, noticeably calming cravings.
OR WALK BACKWARD!
Stepping backward three feet (or even just imagining it) sharpens recall, a study in the journal Cognition found. That’s because it takes you “backward” in time to when you learned something, making information easier to retrieve.
Boost energy with a mini dance party.
Outsmart fatigue by having fun? Sounds too good to be true, but Canadian researchers found that a 60-second burst of motion sends energy soaring by 80 percent for 90 minutes. Activating the major muscles in your legs by dancing to the radio switches on the genes that enhance insulin sensitivity so your muscles can absorb more energizing glucose.
OR TRY THE TOWEL TRICK!
When your energy is flagging, roll up a towel and tuck it behind your lower back. This makes you sit up straighter and improves the flow of oxygen-rich blood, which Cornell University scientists say reduces feelings of fatigue.
Usher in sleep with lemon and lavender.
Fill a diffuser with lavender and lemon essential oils before bed, then take a moment to let the scent waft throughout the room. A study published in the journal Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences suggests this pleasant pairing can help you doze off by as much as 52 percent faster and sleep significantly longer. Both essential oils contain pain-relieving, sedative compounds that encourage sound slumber.
AND PICTURE A PUPPY!
While lying in bed, visualize a fluffy puppy beside you. Australian scientists say this quick trick improves sleep quality by 61 percent since imagining something soft and tactile encourages the release of snooze-inducing theta brain waves.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.