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11 Things You Can do That Take 20 Minutes or Less
That Will Help You Live Longer & Healthier

We're all trying to pack a million and one things into our days, and you may feel like you'd like to do some good things for your health (your body AND your mind), but you simply don't have the time.

A few minutes of meditation is proven to help bring you peace of mind.

Well, if you have 20 minutes or less, you have time to make some major improvements to your stress level, your peace of mind, your fitness and your happiness. The following things may only take minutes out of your day, but they'll make a big impact on your well-being.

1. Stretch

Stretching is so simple that you may overlook its immense benefits. How does increased energy, a greater sense of well-being, reduced muscle tension and increased flexibility sound? Just 15 to 20 minutes of stretching a day is all it takes to experience these beneficial effects, according to stretching expert and creator of the DVD Stretching Toward a Healthier Life, Jacques Gauthier.

Want to know more? Check out The "How To" of Stretching: Tips for Stretching Effectively and Enjoyably.

2. Pray

A report by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that surveyed issues of the Journal of Family Practice over a 10-year period found that 83 percent of studies on religiosity (prayer, belief in a higher being, etc.) found a positive effect on physical health.

Another study on 12 years of issues of two major psychiatric journals found that 92 percent of the studies that measured religiosity showed a benefit for mental health, according to the American Cancer Society.

Pure Relaxation CD

If you need a little help getting started with meditation, try the Pure Relaxation CD. It has deeply relaxing meditations of various lengths and styles to help you get accustomed to meditating.

3. Meditate

Meditation can increase your productivity and give you greater clarity of mind, better concentration, and more energy, according to columnist Mary Maddux.

She has compiled Simple Meditations for Busy People, which you can use any time during the day when you need a brief reprieve.

"While it's ideal to set aside 15-20 minutes to meditate, you can do these meditations for briefer periods of time throughout the day," Maddux says. "In fact those of us who are moving at top speed might be able to ease into the "meditation habit" simply by taking a few minutes here and there to do these mediations and slow down. For best results, try to work up to a 15-20 minute meditation period."

4. Exercise

Exercise can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer all while increasing your mood and lowering your chances of depression.

Vigorous activity -- jogging, aerobics, dancing with your sweetie -- for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times a week is enough to improve your health, according to a report released by the former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

To get YOUR exercise routine started, see The 10 Keys to Start an Exercise Program -- and Finally Stick to It!

5. Take a Walk

Not only is walking exercise (see above), but it's an excellent way to clear your mind, get some fresh air and take a breather from the "busyness" of your home or office. For even greater benefits, try going for a walk on a nice patch of grass ... barefoot!

6. Read for Pleasure

Reading fiction, spiritual, self-help and other literary genres that you enjoy is an excellent way to calm your mind. Frequent readers are also more likely to be successful! For more on the benefits of reading, along with a list of the top 25 novels of all time, check out Want to Live Longer? Be Wealthier? And Happier? Here is the One PROVEN Secret: Reading!

7. Say Your Mantra

A mantra is a word or a phrase that, when repeated, should instill a sense of calm, peace and well-being to your body. The words can be anything, as long as they have meaning to you, such as "live in harmony."

Using a mantra has been found to benefit anxiety, stress from traffic and work, insomnia, and unwanted thoughts, according to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

To get all the information you need to choose and use a mantra, see The Untapped Power and Benefit of Having a Mantra.

Escape from the worries of your day by immersing yourself in a good book.

8. Listen to Music

A study published in the February 2005 edition of The Journal of Advanced Nursing found that older adults with sleep problems who listened to soft music at bedtime reported a 35 percent improvement in their sleep. But that's not all. Studies have found that music relieves stress, is good for your heart and benefits your mind.

In fact, a 2004 study in the journal Heart & Lung even found that people who listened to music while they exercised performed more than twice as well on a verbal fluency test than people who listened to no music.

If you're looking for a soothing music experience, you'll love the Sleep Easy CD. It's loaded with music by a renowned meditation music composer with 20 years experience, and will help you find deep rest and sleep.

9. Plan Your Meals for the Week

It only takes a few minutes to jot down what you'll be feeding your family for the next seven days. And you'll be amazed at how making this simple list will keep you on track to eating healthy. There's no need to succumb to carry-out because you already know what's for dinner!

Be sure to plan your meals with simplicity in mind, taking advantage of, say, leftover baked chicken, to make chicken pot pie or chicken salad the next night.

10. Play a Board Game or do a Crossword Puzzle

Ok, some board games take longer than 20 minutes (we all know that a game of Monopoly can easily take all night), but not all of them. Plus, you can easily start a crossword or sudoku puzzle and put in only as much time as you can spare.

Just how good are board games for you? Check out The Amazing Health Benefits of Board Games ... for Adults as Well as Kids to find out!

11. Sing!

Singing is something we can all do every day, in the car, in the shower, or just about anywhere. Why should you sing? Singing can enhance your well-being, reduce your feelings of pain and even prolong your life. Several studies have also found that singing enhances immunity and may promote better posture, improved lung capacity and higher energy.

And, if you want even more simple tips to live a stress-free, happy life, you'll enjoy the articles below.

Recommended Reading

It's Time to Relax: 15 Quick Tips to Help You Shift Your Gears to Relax Mode Quickly

10 Ways to Make Your Job More Enjoyable


American Cancer Society: Spirituality and Prayer

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