De-Stress the Natural Way
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Changing your mood can be something that can be achieved with just a little effort and a surprisingly short space of time. Here are some ideas that can turn a gray day into a sunny one, often in just a few minutes.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, and that’s because it works. The conscious act of taking regular deep inhalations followed by an even longer exhalation will have you feeling much calmer in less than two minutes. It can literally change the state of your mind. It’s all to do with oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in the blood. But your body knows this instinctively, so relax and just let it do its stuff by simply changing the way you breathe whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation.
There’s nothing like music to change the mood—those armies that employed buglers to rouse the troops really knew what they were doing. Music affects mood through our ears, which in turn causes a reaction in our brains. To lift your mood, listen to music that you love, preferably songs with a rhythm slightly faster than your resting heart rate. This will have the effect of energizing you, and releasing a flood of endorphins to elevate your mood.
There’s no end of studies touting the benefits of pets in your life, and just the act of stroking your pet will lower both your heart rate and blood pressure. Their constant unconditional love means that you will always be “the greatest” in their eyes. A great boost to the self esteem and your mood.
Singing is a great stress reliever as it opens the channels of expression. So, whether you’re feeling angry, sad or just bored, the act of singing has a pronounced effect on stress levels. It also helps to regulate breathing as you keep in time with the music, thus having a similar effect to controlled breathing for stress relief.
Who says chocolate is all bad? It may not be good for watching weight but it’s true that it really does lift your mood. This sinful delight contains a host of substances which regulate and stabilize brain chemicals, giving you an instant wave of euphoria. So sink you teeth into a chokky and wait for the fun to come.
Essential oils are just that for relieving stress and nervous tension—essential. A drug-free, yet, effective treatment for mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Lavender, rosewood, ylang-ylang and clary sage are but a few oils which will both relax and lift your mood. The power of scent can evoke both powerful memories and emotions, and the therapeutic effect of smell, one of our primary means of experiencing the world around us, is well documented.
Cleaning up is a great way to relieve stress. The act of cleaning works on a number of levels—physically, emotionally, even spiritually. The stretching, bending and generally aerobic nature of cleaning moves the body, but, more importantly, it clears the mind—courtesy of endorphins released via exercise. However, it has long been recognized that the act of cleaning and, in particular, clearing the excess junk from your life, also has a powerful cleansing and freeing effect on your mental state. By releasing those possessions we do not really need, we also give ourselves permission to release a lot of accumulated negativity in our minds, thus allowing new energy into both our bodies and our lives. So, the next time you feel spiritually heavy and emotionally weighed down, it’s time for the broom to make a clean sweep of those blue feelings.
Color your world
Looking at color stimulates the brain and warm colors such as red, pink and orange increase heart rate, leaving you feeling more energized. Of course, wearing these colors means that you carry a portable color therapy workshop around with you all day for an instant mood lift. All you have to do is look in the mirror!
These are just some of the many natural methods that can be used to
positively change a blue mood; you can probably think of others that
feel just right for you. The possibilities are endless, but, whatever
ones you choose to use—do it today!