Use What Mother Nature Gave You to Beat Stress
Stress is an equal-opportunity, free-for-all condition of life. No one takes on stress willingly or says, “Stress? Yes, please.” And because stress is something we can’t avoid, nature has equipped us with ways to counteract it—we can use our five senses to beat stress.
Stress causes us to disconnect from ourselves, causing us to become absorbed and distracted. And with the world currently practicing social distancing in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, stress and a desire for connection are everywhere. But by using our five senses—sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, we can counteract the negative effects of stress and bring a little Zen into our lives. For those who are cut off from one sense, like sight or hearing, Mother Nature compensates by heightening the other senses.
It’s amazing what colors can do to calm the mind. Light blues and greens as well as earth tones can evoke the peaceful feeling we get from nature, similar to blue skies and green grass, plants and trees. If your stress derives from not being able to accomplish goals, hanging pictures with an inspirational color like red in your office can help your brain light up with ideas.
Nature is a great stress reliever, and taking a few minutes out of the day to get outside and listen to the wind and the birds and the other sounds of nature is usually extremely beneficial. Since that’s mostly discouraged right now, opening the windows to let the sounds of nature into the house can help, or try a soothing symphony to calm your mind or listen to anything you know will lift you out of the stress zone. If calm isn’t your path to beating stress, you can always turn on some dance music and dance your stress away.
An olfactory experience can transport you back in time and conjure good (and bad) memories, so surround yourself with scents that put a smile on your face. Scents can be enjoyed individually or in combination, like eucalyptus and mint, to both relax and renew. Lavender has long been used to promote relaxation and beat stress, but if that’s not your cup of tea, an article on psychologytoday.com mentioned a study wherein jasmine tea was inhaled for five minutes, causing the study participants to experience a calm feeling as well as the benefits of a lowered heart rate.
We knew what we were doing when we started bring nature into our homes. Contact with our pets can create a lightening affect—increasing levels of the good hormone oxytocin in both you and your animal friend. Similarly, making contact with textured items in your home, fuzzy blankets, silky pillows, carpets that your feet sink into, and whatever else pleases your sense of touch, can help to ground you when you’re feeling stressed and closed in. And when you absolutely need human contact during this time of social distancing, give yourself a hug and remind yourself that you are strong enough to deal with the world.
It’s official! Chocolate not only tastes good but it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to beat stress. The antioxidants in dark chocolate can help you fight the ravages of stress, and chocolate is also effective in lifting your mood. But if chocolate is not your thing or you’re looking for a more health-conscious way to use taste to beat stress, try eating healthy fats like those found in nuts, seeds, or avocados, for example. Also, lean proteins taste great! Spices also help beat stress, not only through their scents, but their taste, and the many different benefits they provide to the body, for an all-over experience.
Use your five senses to beat stress and reconnect your mind, body, and soul. The world can be a frightening and stressful place at times, and we’re currently experiencing one of them with the outbreak of the Coronavirus. But if we have faith in ourselves and the connections that we have with our friends and loved ones, we can weather this storm, and come out stronger for it all. Until then, use these tips to keep yourself and your families grounded and relaxed.
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