By Trae Bodge
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to Ronit Fallek, director of the Healing Arts Program at Montefiore Health System in New York, simply breathing mindfully can be very beneficial to your health. Fallek says, “Studies show that these techniques can help slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, ease muscle tension and improve digestion and sleep.”
There’s an abundance of retreats, books, spas and pricey gadgets you could invest in to relieve stress, but you can also unwind without spending a dime. From free relaxation apps to a good stretch at your desk, here are five cost-free ways to relax and get rid of stress.
For decades, researchers have studied the benefits of meditation. People who practice meditation experience a notable decrease in anxiety and depression and an increase in feelings of well-being, optimism, relaxation and awareness, according to personal growth website LiveAndDare.com, which compiled data from more than 100 studies on meditation.
Furthermore, it doesn’t take long to reap the benefits of meditation. People who participated in an eight-week meditation program showed measurable changes in memory, empathy and stress, according to research by Massachusetts General Hospital.
There are many forms of meditation to choose from based on your taste and level of commitment, and just as many free or low-cost resources. Sabina Hitchen, a small business educator at SabinaKnows.com, said she swears by the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience.
“I live for their 21-Day Meditation courses. I do them every a.m., and I choose courses that are focused on what I’m in need of at the moment,” said Hitchen. “With introductions by Oprah and Deepak leading you through them, they’re like hitting a refresh button for your brain.” Not every meditation is free, but Hitchen said that registered users are periodically offered access to free series.