If you live in this world, stress relief is essential.
Having no mental stress is an art.
Stress jacks up the nervous system, overburdens the adrenal glands, and lowers the immunity.
Healthy Habit #4-1 Take a mini-vacation
at least once every two months
in a place where you can be TIMELESS.
For effective stress relief, all you really need is a couple of days. A weekend. Not to worry about anything. Just be in the moment with nature, with your Self, and with the people you love.
Healthy Habit #4-2 Spend a few minutes in
Yogic Deep Relaxation every day.
Deep Relaxation, or Yoga Nidra, is one of the most powerful methods of stress relief. It reduces deep seated mental and emotional tensions.
This is one of my personal favorite ways to reduce stress.
Actually, it doesn't have to be 'yoga'. It could be anything 'barefoot': 'barefoot picnic', 'barefoot walk on the beach', 'barefoot frisbee', 'barefoot gardening', and so on.
The key is to connect to the Earth.
But actual living breathing ground.
Take off your shoes.
Dip your hands into the ocean, or dig them into the sand.
Press your body against the Earth.
Smell the grass.
Weather permitting, I practice yoga outside. I use a towel instead of a yoga mat to stay connected to the energy of the Earth.
Healthy Habit #4-3 Practice 'Barefoot Yoga',
or find another way to connect to the Earth
on a good weather day.
How does it help relieve stress?
It is my personal experience. I feel relaxed, restored, and rejuvenated after connecting with the real living ground.
We are made of the Earth elements. When we connect to the Earth, like a loving mother, IT heals us, restores our energies, and makes us feel grounded. The Earth 'pulls' your stress and negative energy out of you.
Scientific Explanation for Barefoot Stress Relief
There is a layer of negative ions a few inches over the ground. These negative ions neutralize inflammation in the body. Much the same way that antioxidants in our food reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals.
This anti-inflammatory ionic layer is responsible for the quick healing of animals that are in contact with the ground. Have you noticed that dogs, cows, horses, and wild animals heal quickly from any cuts and bruises, and rarely get an inflammatory reaction around their wounds?
This explains the healing effect of gardening. Being in touch with the ground has been a living tradition in many cultures. People who work with the Earth are known to live longer, and be more relaxed and easy-going.
Healthy Habit #4-4 Chant or hum "Omm".
Let the vibration of the sound of the hum reverberate through your whole body.
Feel the resonance in the chest and the head.
Om-ing is incredibly effective as a stress relief method. Try it in the car next time you are driving.
Try it right now as you are reading this sentence. Take a deep breath and ... Ommmm ...
Healthy Habit #4-5 See Humor.
Laughter activates the relaxation response and causes the release of endorphins, brain chemicals responsible for positive and pleasurable experiences, which promote stress relief.
Seeing humor in everyday life is simply a habit. And as with any habit, it can be learned. What better way to spend your day as being surrounded with humor and laughter. Click on Yoga Jokes and Humor for some examples.
Healthy Habit #4-6 Practice slow breathing.
Animals who breathe more slowly, live longer. Tortoises and elephants, known for their longevity, have a particularly slow breath rate: 2-3 breaths a minute. Dogs and cats, on the other hand, breathing rapidly, don't square off as well.
Since we are able to control our breath voluntarily, it makes sense to practice slowing down the breath.
The key is not to strain or feel discomfort, EVER.
Establish a formal sitting/lying down
slow breathing practice:
It's best to work up to a slow breath rate gradually.
Start with 4 seconds on inhale and on exhale.
When 4 seconds is comfortable, increase to 5 seconds and so on till 8 seconds.
After 8 seconds, begin to lengthen the exhalation until it's double of the inhalation (16 seconds). This should take a few weeks.
Then, keep adding 1 second to the inhalation and 2 seconds to the exhalation, until infinity ... just kidding.
This practice is guaranteed to lengthen your lifespan, give you energy, and provide mental and physical stress relief.
Healthy Habit #4-7 Establish and keep up
a daily meditation practice.
The purpose of meditation is to lessen the noise in the mind.
Less noise = fewer thoughts, fewer disturbances = less stress.
There are hundreds of meditation techniques. All lead to stress relief. Some meditation methods have been extensively researched and documented in the medical literature, especially "Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction".
The best way to begin a meditation practice is to find a class and a teacher. However, that's not necessary. Meditation is a natural state of the mind and can be accessed at any time. A teacher serves only as a guide.
Start with 10 minutes of practice. For more specific guidelines, visit Yoga Meditation for Stress Relief and more...
Healthy Habit #4-8 Get a pet,
or find a way to connect to animals.
Animals are natural healers. Having a pet animal contributes greatly to stress relief.
Animals are incredibly present and connected to their emotions. When they see us as part of their group, they give us their unconditional love.
Energetically, pet animals share their positive energy/vibration with us all the time, thereby evoking the healing process in us.
It seems that pets see us the way we want other people to see us. I am always reminded of the bumper sticker:
"God, Please Help Me to Be the Person
My Dog Thinks I Am".
If you don't own a pet animal, ... they own you. ... (smile) ... What I mean to say is that you can connect to animals without owning one.
Click here for more "Dog Wisdom"
You may volunteer at a shelter, which is always so greatly appreciated. You may just make it a habit to go to a dog park, or a dog beach, and watch how happy and present the dogs are. You'll definitely get their healing vibe and find yourself more present and relaxed.