Stress Recipes for the Soul
In this overstimulated world we live in, it’s easy to become stressed and overwhelmed. With mini-computers now at our fingertips in the form of cell phones, we are constantly connected to the world. The chime of a text message or a jingle from a FaceBook post make it challenging to get complete down-time even when we can manage to squeeze in a few moments to recharge. Add the ever-increasing commute times and dense traffic on the roads and you’ve got a recipe for stress and anxiety. But fear not! We have several historically proven options to help you put your world on simmer and breathe easier.
For such a big word, this is a simple thing: read a book. Forget reading your friend’s latest post or that text message reminding you about an appointment. We are talking plain old print on paper books. Books can take us to foreign lands and historic times, distracting us from the stressors plaguing our daily lives. Research has shown that reading can help reduce your heart rate and can ease the tension in your muscles and may reduce stress by up to 68%. What type of reading material? Find anything that piques your interest, even if it’s a cookbook or gossip magazine! The critical component is that it must be an item that won’t upset you (like that article talking about politics everyone is chatting about).
Scientists have found that regular aerobic exercise can improve self-esteem, decrease tension, and improve sleep. A little exercise can go a long way! But let’s simplify things – you don’t have to go to the gym to get your heart pumping. A brisk 10-minute walk has been shown to promote a healthier mood just like a 45-minute workout! Raining outside? Get some stretch bands and use gravity to flex those muscles and move that body. Does 10 minutes sound like too much today with all of the chores stacking up? We have a simple solution for that as well: turn up the music and do a little dance while you wash those dishes or vacuum that rug! A simple swinging of your hips or moving of your feet can help get the heart pumping and the blood moving to turn that frown upside-down.
For centuries, music has been used to lighten the mood. But the trick to using music to battle stress and anxiety is all in music selection. Here are some selection tips:
- This may sound simple, but you have to like the music you’re listening to. Don’t choose anything that you won’t enjoy.
- It should give you a positive feeling. If the music has lyrics, choose something with a positive message and set aside the songs that talk about breakups and broken trucks.
- The beat can slow your beat. Research shows that music with around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves. The alpha brainwave helps you relax and get into a calmer state.
From teas to supplements, herbs have been used for centuries to support a calmer state of mind.
- Herbal Teas: Peppermint tea contains menthol which is a natural muscle relaxant. Chamomile can help with insomnia, and with an improved night’s rest your stress and anxiety can be greatly reduced. The polyphenol in green tea is an adaptogenic, keeping you calm through stressful situations.
- Lavender: Used as an essential oil or sprinkled into a bath, this fragrant herb has been shown to have a calming effect.
- Xiao Yao Wan: The formula used for our own Stress Support, Xiao Yao Wan is a classical herbal formula used for centuries in China. The name roughly translates to Free and Easy Wanderer and as the translated name implies, this formula contains adaptogenic herbs that support the body’s natural response to stressors. (Who doesn’t want to wander more easily through life?)
There are hundreds of resources with dozens of additional relaxation tips and I’m sure many of you have your own formula for battling the daily grind! However you find your peace, we wish you a life of calm.