The GOOD Guide to Relaxing, Part Three
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Jon Stewart unable to hold back tears when receiving 9/11 heroes’ gift. "I don't deserve this but I will treasure it like I treasured Ray and our friendship."
Turn off gadgets. Turning off your smart phone and stepping away from the TV or laptop now and again can have a calming effect, and new research about the health effects of phones seems to be showing that spending too much time with them isn't good. Try leaving the house without your phone, or dedicate two nights a week as TV-free. Finally, power down your devices at least one hour before bedtime, and don’t keep them next to your bed. They keep you awake, and that stresses you out.
Try herbal concoctions. Whether just inhaling their odor or drinking them in tea, certain herbs can have a powerful effect on calming us down. Chamomile has long been used as a bedtime cocktail for insomniacs, as have valerian and melatonin. Lavender and jasmine are aromatic stress-busters, and ylang ylang has a mood-boosting, anxiety-reducing effect for those who have the blues.
Smell jasmine. For eons people have suspected that some smells can impact brain chemistry, but scientists were at pains to find incontrovertible proof. Well, now they have it: Pure jasmine is as calming as valium.
Jump up and down. Doing something physical in the middle of your day is one of the best ways to distress because it boosts energy and circulation—not to mention mood. If you can’t take a brisk walk, lock yourself in the bathroom for a minute or two and do jumping jacks instead.
Learn to breathe. Many experts believe that the single most important thing a person can do for their stress is learning to breathe better. Try counting inhales and exhales to keep them even, and make sure to breathe all the way down to your belly—when you are stressed out your breaths shorten and get lighter.
Get acupuncture. It doesn't matter if it works because the needles are hitting specific points along our meridians or simply because of a powerful placebo effect. The fact is, acupuncture works, and has been relaxing people for millennia. Scientific studies suggest that it works by stimulating the nervous and immune systems.