Got a minute? Relax.

Got a minute?

ProfHacker introduces a series just for you: one-minute body/mind hacks.

Feeling frazzled? stuck? sluggish? confused?


Here’s a one-minute tune-up for your nervous system:


  • Set your timer for one minute.
  • Sit up straight in your chair, with both feet flat on the ground. Let your hands rest loosely in your lap.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe.  Just breathe easily. Don’t hold your breath, don’t count your breath, just let it flow in an even circle, in and out.   You may find that your breath naturally deepens and slows, but don’t try to force it. Don’t even think about it. Just breathe.

What this does, besides giving you a restorative break, is encourage your brain to produce more alpha waves, moving you out of a predominately beta wave state of stress. An alpha state — a more relaxed brainwave state — is the optimal state for learning and doing almost anything (except running away from a tiger).  When you tighten up your muscles or your mind in an attempt to work hard or focus intensely, you eventually wind up with increased tension, blockage, or cramp.  Relaxation actually can enhance your focus and your productivity by helping you to respond more fluidly and flexibly to any situation.

This simple tune-up is excellent before a writing session, before heading out to teach class, or at any point in the day when you want to regroup, change focus, or just bring a little relaxation into your body and your mind.

Like this tip? Try it and let us know in the comments.

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