Although we no longer need to worry about being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, non-stop access to media, the ability and increasing pressure to work from anywhere at any time has created high levels of stress in modern life. You could get a prescription to help deal with the strain, but if you’re looking for more natural ways to de-stress, we’ve got a bunch of good ideas, and none of them require a doctor’s intervention.
Meditation is a great way to relax. Research shows that meditation can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure, and even improve cognitive function. You can do it pretty much anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment. Find a comfortable, reasonably quiet place to sit. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Next, turn your attention to one thing: it can be an image, such as clear blue water or a candle flame, or you can simply focus on your breath. Just a few minutes of quiet concentration can work wonders on your spirits. If you want a concrete picture to work with, check out some of the best beaches in the world for inspiration.
Exercise is one of the quickest ways to de-stress because it releases endorphins, aka your feel-good hormones. Even better, it doesn’t need to be a killer routine with fancy equipment, or even special gear. Simple neck and shoulder stretches offer fast relief, and a brisk walk out of doors can provide a total reset to your perspective, and stress levels. Yoga is another great way to de-stress. You can follow a DVD or access videos online. To keep those calm vibes going, make exercise part of your daily routine. Twenty minutes a day is all it takes to experience the benefits.
Listening to music, especially with a slow tempo, can create near-instant calm in your mind. Music has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reduce muscle tension. Music therapy has also been proven to reduce anxiety, so turn on the relaxing tunes in the car on the way to work, or before bed if you’re having trouble getting that mile-a-minute mind to slow down.
Massage is a great way to relax, reduce stress and muscle tension, and increase the flow of happy hormones. But it isn’t rocket science so there’s no need to book an appointment. Self-massage is effective and can be done right in the comfort of your own home. The head, hands and feet contain the most nerve endings so for an instant hit of calm, focus on those, or any area where you feel tension. Adding aromatherapy is an easy way to amplify the effects. Scents such as lavender and chamomile are especially soothing. Rub your aching tootsies with some pleasant-smelling lotion and you’ll feel better in no time. Put on calming music and triple your relaxation!
A bubble bath does good for both body and soul. The heat loosens up tight muscles while the soothing scent calms the mind. If you happen to have Epsom salts on hand, toss those in as well for extra muscle relaxation. You can even get creative and do a simple at-home facial with a couple of cucumber slices and some yogurt.
Bonus tip: Eat natural, wholesome foods. Most of us are acquainted with stress eating but unfortunately, a lot of those sugary, fatty items we crave have a negative impact on our body and mind. Never underestimate the power of healthy eating.