“Yoga is one of the healthiest and most satisfying choices you can make for yourself, and is calorie-, caffeine-, sugar-, gluten-, and alcohol-free,” says Lisa Rosenthal, a registered yoga teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga. Yoga helps to unconstrict breathing, reduces muscle tension, and floods the body with oxygen, all of which help to reduce stress’s detrimental effects on body and brain. “Yoga is designed to integrate mind, body, and heart, decreasing brain chatter, and the fight-or-flight reflex,” she explains. This increases mindfulness, and releases stress-calming endorphins.” If you find the thought of joining a class full of lithe, skinny people standing on their heads intimidating, you’re not alone. Rosenthal suggests finding a beginner class or starting out with a video at home. Many types of yoga are relatively easy to do, despite age, or physical ability. Try this five-minute sun salutation routine you can do at home.
Morning mindfulness meditation
Your ability to unwind at the end of the day may actually begin the second you open your eyes. Mindfulness meditation first thing in the morning can help you harness runaway thoughts and anxiety, calming the mind, and eradicating stress before it starts. Many people find that beginning their day this way helps them start out calm and increases feelings of tranquility and inner strength. “Researcher Herbert Benson was one of the first to bring the concept of the mind-body relationship and the relaxation response to modern American medicine,” says Lisa Schuman, LCSW. “He demonstrated how even modified versions of traditional meditation can help lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and teach our bodies how to steady ourselves, in the face of life challenges. With a daily short meditation practice, we are less likely to be hijacked by our emotions.” If you can’t begin each day in meditation, building in 15 minutes before or during your commute, lunch break, or right before bed may be just as effective for you. Nab eight 8 stress-busting mini meditations here.