5 ways to beat stress

handstandHands up who’s feeling stressed?

Stress is a highly contagious “dis-ease” and few of us are immune to its effects. Over time, stress can have serious effects on the way our bodies function, often leading to physical as well as emotional illness. It therefore makes good health sense to address the early signs of an overstressed system. Here are some great ideas to help inoculate you against this modern epidemic.

1. Aromatherapy
Using essential oils is a great way to instant calm. Smell is one of our basic senses, and is governed by the limbic system which is located in the hindbrain. What that means is that “smelling” is separate from the “thinking”, or front section, of the brain. It therefore by-passes that part of the brain that governs so-called “higher” functions. This includes “bad thinking“and compulsive worrying! Thus you can utilize your sense of smell to help counteract negative thoughts and feelings. The calming scent of essential oils such as lavender, rosewood, clary sage, ylang ylang, and geranium to name a few, will have you centered and calmer in moments. Place a drop or two at the base of the throat and inhale instant peace.

2. Rosemary tea
Try sipping rosemary tea. Place a teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves in a cup of hot water. Let steep for a couple of minutes, then strain. Rosemary is a great calming agent and natural antidepressant.

3. Listen to Music
If you are feeling depressed or anxious, put on some uplifting music. Music is well known to influence mood— historically every army had a corps of musicians to lead the troops into battle— and every mother sings a lullaby to send her baby to sleep. You can use the same technique to change your own mood. Depression responds best to fast, happy music; if anxiety is the problem, select music with a beat slightly slower than the normal human heart rate – slow music is very calming.

4. Sing!
Singing or (humming if you’re shy) has the same effect as listening to music. You can use it to effectively change your mood, often in the space of ten minutes or so. Let the bathroom or the car become a place where you can really let out your frustrations and worries!

5. Slow your overloaded brain
Try this Ayurvedic “cooling breath” technique to help slow down your breathing and encourage slow, healing breaths. Close your eyes and curl your tongue into a tube, allowing the tip to protrude slightly. Breathe in slowly and deeply through the funnel made by your tongue. Continue for two minutes. Repeat whenever you feel stressed.