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Quick Way to Reduce Stress
Have you ever been so wound up in the day that nothing seemed to calm you?
Have you ever just needed to escape but it’s not in the budget right now?
You’re not alone.
Maybe you’re thinking right now – if I did escape where would I go?
Close your eyes right now. Take a deep breath counting to 5 on the inhale and 7 on the exhale.
What did you imagine?
Chances are there’s water in the image of your escape.
A 2013 study conducted at the University of Exeter in the UK found that there were numerous health benefits to spending time near the ocean. The main ones being that being near water gives your brain a rest and puts it in a meditative state.
For those who struggle to meditate – being in awe of the grandiosity of an ocean, the roar of the waves, or the beauty of a waterfall cascading into a rushing stream can help.
I am one of those non-meditators – I try but then I make lists so I’m a list meditator. I need to be awed into my relaxed state.
Our brains are over stimulated and they need to rest to reboot and recharge. A lot of the illnesses I see in my practice are related to overstimulation for prolonged periods of time.
I don’t know what it is but it seems that we just can’t take the time to slow down to do absolutely nothing. I’m guilty of it myself. I feel that if I’m not doing something I’m being lazy and not productive.
It took me years to figure out that if I spent at least 5 minutes a day doing absolutely nothing but looking at pictures or videos of places I would like to escape to I could reduce my stress levels, clear my mind and boost my creativity.
Research has shown that humans are drawn to the rhythmic drone of waves crashing at the ocean as much as the sound of a rushing stream. Spending a few minutes looking at videos I’ve taken from these places put’s me in my happy place!
Makes me wonder about snow then. There’s something special about curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and watching snow fall outside. I love skiing and the calm that is evoked upon the universe when big snowflakes are gently falling around you on a powder day while you are gently taking turns through a treed run. Ahhh! Makes me smile. So perhaps there is something about snow too.
Where I live I can access views of water daily and I still catch myself in awe each time I see the water. In fact, I often drive certain roads just so I can see it.
I moved my office this summer to a location that is further away from the water and since then I have craved beach time…hmmmm
The good news is that I have a great float center right down the street from my new office. If you haven’t heard of floatation therapy you’re missing out! This is where you go into a tank of water rich in magnesium salts (think Epsom salts) and float. The depth of the water is around 18-24 inches and you lie on your back and float. The magnesium salts help with your buoyancy.
Now before you start thinking about how you might drown, how it may provoke claustrophobia take a breath. I thought the same things too. The tank has a door and you can leave it open if you like. You can use a neck float to keep your head out of water too. I personally found that when I didn’t use the float and let my ears get in the water the relaxation invoked was much better as it provided full sensory deprivation.
Out of everything that I have tried to calm myself when stressed out the floating has helped the best.
Flotation has been researched extensively since the 1950’s with a resurgence in research in the last decade for various mental health conditions from schizophrenia to anxiety and depression too bad it took 60 years for it to take off and become mainstream.
Now maybe you aren’t a good swimmer or have had a bad experience with water and the thought of floating stresses you out. Ok it’s not for everybody. However, that doesn’t mean that looking at beaches, streams and falling snow can’t calm your nervous system and reduce stress on a daily basis.
So if you are stressed it’s time to get in some water time virtually or in person.
Check out these videos for inspiration and relaxation:
Or maybe snow is your thing:
Not into videos? Then search your favorite beaches online or get some inspiration from Travel and Leisure – http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-beaches-on-earth
Need to get out of the house or office? See if you have an AAA Travel Store in your area – they are a great source of inspiration and have a ton of booklets to grab to keep you close to the water at any time!
So to quickly reduce stress – get out to the water, get a picture of the water or find a video!
Do this daily – or even a few times a day – see how you feel after a full week of getting in your beach, water or snow time!
Bonus stress tip: next time you’re struck by the beauty of a certain place take a video or a picture there and keep it on your wallpaper for your computer or keep it on your cell to refer to when you need to escape!
Enjoy finding your stress reducing happy place!