Humanity has always faced troubling times, but a modern life that keeps us tuned in 24/7 allows little reprieve.
Do you experience any of the following?
If so, you may be experiencing high levels of stress in your life.
While small amounts of acute stress can improve performance and alleviate boredom, most of what we experience these days is chronic and damaging.
Living life means there will be stressors no matter how much we try and avoid them. We can’t realistically expect to eliminate all stress, but we can employ certain tips and tools using our five senses. Here are some to try to help calm body and mind.
Food as therapy is a common but frequently ill-fated practice. When we eat that slice of chocolate cake, it may give us momentary satisfaction but we’re left with a sugar low and empty caloric intake. That’s not to say we should never enjoy a treat. But if our food choices are consistently unhealthy, they can lead to more irritability and depression and may impact stress levels as well.
Food affects mood, so choose healthy, whole-food options.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and is extremely tuned to external stimulus. Imagine the cloudlike feel of a freshly laundered soft towel or the warm touch of a loved one’s hand, and you can see how powerful a tool touch can be to help us relax.
Massage is a time-honored technique to help the body unwind. Consider trying some yoga or tai chi to stretch the muscles and alleviate tightness.
If you have a fur baby, spend time petting or grooming their coat. You will both benefit from the exchange.
Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique, is an effective tool based on ancient Chinese acupressure and modern-day psychology. The fingertips are used in a repetitive pattern on specific meridian points of the body to calm the nervous system and help eliminate stress, limiting beliefs, and phobias.
For a powerful form of touch, some individuals turn to weighted blankets to help with their stress, insomnia, and anxiety.
These therapeutic coverings can weigh anywhere from five to 30 pounds.
When this extra weight is placed over the body, it creates a therapeutic technique known as deep pressure stimulation. This type of pressure relaxes the nervous system and is used when working with support animals and receiving massage treatments.
Weighted blankets get their heft from small beads or tiny crystals such as quartz or amethyst sewn right inside. Look for blankets that are five to 10 percent of your body weight.
Weighted blankets work well for many. But keep in mind they may not be for everyone.
We view the world through our eyes. Change your viewpoint by focusing your attention on something beautiful and uplifting.
Works of art, both modern and ancient, can lift our spirits. If you have a coffee table book of an artist you love, take time to browse through it again. Visit a local museum to find beloved works from sculptors, designers, and painters.
Some people find that revisiting happier times boosts their moods. Whether you have photos stored on a computer or in an album, remembering past vacations and fun times can bring a smile to your face.
Color therapy can change a person’s mental and emotional well-being.
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. They affect parts of the brain associated with behavior and emotion.
Aromatherapy is the inhalation and use of essential oils to help with depression, insomnia, stress, anxious feelings, and more.
Working with ylang ylang, lavender, bergamot, and vanilla essential oils has proven to lower stress levels.
Inhaling an essential oil directly from its bottle encourages us to take deep breaths, which regulates the stress response. You can also use a diffuser to add healing scents to your indoor environment.
Another option for stress-reducing scents is to visit a local flower shop. Browse the aisles and take time to inhale the scents of various blooms. If flowers are growing outside, partake in these short-lived beauties.
Listening to calming and relaxing music has been found to be effective for reducing stress and boosting mood.
Our voices are powerful tools. Do not underestimate the mind’s ability to respond to positive affirmations. Say them out loud for more self-encouragement.
Go outdoors and absorb the sounds of nature.
For the ultimate healing experience that engages all five senses, look to nature to lift stress levels. Experience the sight of a bright blue sky, the smell of wild flowers, the feel of sand beneath your feet, the sound of wind rippling through the leaves, and the tasty crunch of a freshly picked apple.
Whether you enjoy outdoor sights and sounds by visiting the country or going to an urban park, spending time outside greatly benefits concentration, mood, and creativity and, ultimately, relieves stress.