Ten Quick Ways to Refresh the Soul this Summer

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Stare at a tree10. Stare at a tree. No really. It’s scientific. Taking a break from your work, being outside, and staring at a tree (note NOT while multi-tasking on your iPad or phone) is a great and quick ten minute way to clean the slate and start over with a clear, rested mind for the remainder of the day. This is way more effective by the way, than eating lunch at your desk as you check your emails, phone calls, the latest news on-line, and Facebook/Twitter.

9. Hold a baby. There is just something about the smell, the little sounds, and the feel of a tiny little one snuggling in your arms, completely relaxed and trusting, that induces our own sense of relaxation. (And if it’s someone else’s baby, even better, since being able to give them back to mom or dad when they start to cry is imperative to maintaining your new-found serenity! ;)

8. Listen to music. Not just your favorite, but the kind that takes your mind to another place filled with positive memories, or simply allows you to chill wherever you are when you hear it.

7. Take in some girl time. Or guy time. Whatever helps you unload whatever is on your chest for the week. There is great relief that comes when we talk things out, as it helps us process issues that may be weighing us down.

6. Volunteer for anything serving others directly. Nothing will lift your spirit more than see the joy and feeling the satisfaction of changing another’s life for good, no matter how large or small the task seems to you, it’s probably a life saver to the person or people you are serving.

5. Take a walk/run in a park. Even better if it’s a new park, on vacation, in a town you’ve never been in. Novelty affects our brain in a brand new way, as nature does its thing calming down the nervous system.

4. Pet a puppy. Or cat. Or anything else pettable. Your nervous system will instinctively relax in response to repetitive motions involving touch. When you bang your elbow - you rub it to make it feel better. Same concept applies here, with some bonus wet kisses to boot.

Relax

3. Hang out by running water. A river with a current. Waves lapping on the lakeshore. Better yet, a water fall. Listening to these soothing sounds and visualizing the constant movement of water will slow your heart rate, calm the mind, and reduce muscle tension in no time.

2. Take a vacation from all devices. Completely cut off. No communication whatsoever. Whether for 1 hour or for a full 7-day vacation, you have to try this to feel the difference this makes. Once you do it once, challenge yourself to at least several hours every week to allow your body to rest outside of its “high alert” state every time you hear a reminder chime.

1. Bring back your childhood. Pick up a task, activity, or sport you haven’t done in years, but one you found was incredibly enjoyable at the time. Maybe it’s getting ice cream at your favorite spot, playing piano, cross stitching, or teaching your kids how to play soccer. Whatever it is, you’ll be amazed at the feelings you will re-live of the good old days. And you’ll be guaranteed to visit that place again soon!