What is Brain Gym®?
Brain Gym®, created by Gail E. Dennison in 1981, is an easy method to reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace.
Brain Gym is composed of simple exercises which are designed to minimise stress in the work environment. The exercises enable the co-ordination of brain function with motor skills, leading to better job performance.
Each of the suggested activities takes only 30-60 seconds to perform, but can have benefits that last throughout your (work) day.
Stress Busting Exercises
The following exercises – taken from Brain Gym® for Business, by Gail E Dennison et al, 2000, are simple stress-busting exercises which you can do anywhere and anytime during your working day:
THE CROSS CRAWL
While standing, march in place, alternately touching each hand to the opposite knee. Continue while taking 4-8 complete relaxed breaths. This movement can also be done sitting down.
The cross crawl activates both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. This helps coordinate visual, auditory and kinaesthetic abilities – which can help improve skills such as listening, reading, writing and memory.
Placing your hands on your abdomen, exhale through your mouth in short little puffs, as if you were blowing a feather through the air, until your lungs are completely empty.
Next, inhale deeply; filling your belly like a balloon underneath your hands – if you arch your back slightly, you can take in even more air. Slowly exhale fully. Repeat this exercise, establishing your own rhythm, over 3 or more breaths.
Belly breathing improves the supply of oxygen to the entire body, especially the brain. It helps relax the central nervous system and increases energy levels. Breathing “from the gut” has been found to improve both reading and speaking abilities.
Sit on a chair in front of a table/desk, resting your forehead between your hands on the table/desk top. Exhale fully. While slowly lifting your head, inhale deeply, breathing down to the base of the spine. Your torso and shoulders should remain relaxed. While exhaling, tuck your chin into your chest and begin moving your head down towards the table, while lengthening the back of your neck. Rest your head on the table/desk once more as you relax, and breathe deeply. Repeat 3-4 times.
This movement keeps the back muscles toned and the spine supple, flexible and relaxed. This activity helps improve posture, concentration and attention and is especially useful while working at a desk or computer.
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