The study showed that when people move in tandem, we feel the boundaries between us dissolve, creating a sense of shared humanity,” said Emilia Zhivotovskaya, founder of the Prosperity Center, which educates people and organizations in positive psychology.
Group dance classes like zumba or classical jazz are a great way to experience that sense of community, says Ms. Zhivotovskaya, who is also an instructor for the IntenSati dance fitness program. “When we move in unison, a part of the brain is activated that tells us: “Oh, we are not alone.”
Plus, when you’re trying to follow a group, it’s hard to be in your head, she said, which can calm any stress-inducing “mind chatter.”
Go on a micro-adventure.
Scientists found that people who feel awe report lower levels of daily stress. Try planning a creative “micro-adventure” to put your mind at ease: ride a familiar bike in the dark for a fresh look, or take a day trip on a local mountain, stopping along the way to enjoy the views.
Or you can just go outside. A growing body of research shows that spending time in nature, even just in a city park, can have calming effects on our minds and bodies, including lowering stress hormones and lowering physical markers of stress such as blood pressure.
“The benefits can range from increased feelings of happiness and emotional well-being to positive social interactions and reduced stress and anxiety,” said Gregory Bratman, director of the Environment and Wellbeing Laboratory at the University of Washington.
Try a workout you’ve never done before.
Maybe you’re traveling and away from your usual gym or equipment – or you’re at home but your favorite studio is closed for the holidays. Turn an obstacle into a challenge to try something different.