By Paul Abraham of www.headingonwards.com
As both the body and the mind can become quite bogged down during the cold, wet and windy winter months, here are five tips on ways to de-stress as you sit in your favourite chair.
During the week you could decide to do a different one each day which will get you in to a nice routine to look forward to.
1. Peel an Orange
Due to the citrus aromas they emit, peeling an orange can be very beneficial for de-stressing. In a study conducted by Brazilian scientists, participants who sniffed orange oil were less anxious throughout stress tests than those who were given tea tree oil or water. Some health advisors recommend trying to remove the peel in one piece, focusing the mind on the task as you’re doing it.
Additionally, the vitamin C in oranges—as well as other citrus fruits such as grapefruit and lemons—is known to reduce stress levels, making them a great all round snack.
2. Take a Mini Mental Holiday
While it would be nice to take a real holiday every time things get stressful, that isn’t a realistic possibility for most. But a mental holiday is something everyone can afford, and also a helpful tactic for combating stress.
Just by picturing one of the most relaxing scenes you can imagine, and engaging as many senses as you can by thinking about what you’d see, hear, smell, touch, and taste if you were really enjoying that relaxing scene. Just a few short minutes of this can do wonders for de-stressing both your brain and your body.
3. Breathe Deep
Since it is a natural function of the body, we often forget to focus on our breathing throughout the day, yet it is considered one of the most powerful way to reduce stress.
According to Stress.org, deep breathing “increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.” It also helps to promote feelings of connection with the body and “brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind.”
One simple technique I teach is: sitting with your eyes closed inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of four and then exhale through the mouth for a count of four while keeping concentration on keeping it controlled and flowing.
After three or four cycles of this technique you should be feeling calmer and more relaxed.
4. Eat a Banana
It’s probable that you enjoy having a banana as a quick and easy smack. But now you have even more reason to! According to nutritional experts, the potassium in bananas helps to “regulate blood pressure to relieve stress and improve energy and recovery.”
Bananas aren’t the only food that can help during tense times, though. Try eating a handful of nuts and seeds, which contain plenty of stress-reducing Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. As with the orange, make sure you’re sat comfortably and enjoy the total experience.
5. Smell Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used to heal a multitude of ailments — including anxiety, pain, and skin conditions—for thousands of years. They possess many incredible benefits, not the least of which is their ability to help the body naturally de-stress.
There are several oils that are recommended to cope with stress, including rose, lavender, bergamot and chamomile for their ability to relax and soothe.
The easiest ways are often the best ways, for example smelling the oil directly from its bottle, or you could place a couple of drops on some tissues and position them on the arms of your chair.