We all know meditating, going outdoors and doing yoga are incredibly useful ways to stave off stressful emotions, but sometimes we need to get creative when it comes to boosting our mood. The truth is, the secret to finding some zen may be closer (and easier) than you think. If you’re looking for a way to cultivate some calm, check out some of the surprising ways to banish your blues below. Soon you’ll be feeling relaxed and ready to take on the stress of your day (yoga mats and trees optional).
Go back to your roots: They say home is where the heart is – but it can also be where the zen is. There’s nothing quite like the comforts of the old and familiar. Going home can bring back memories of Saturday morning cartoons and holidays with the family – and that source of nostalgia doesn’t just induce positive emotions, it reminds us of the value of the little moments. As author Elizabeth Wagele explains, by recalling those memories, we can banish the stressful feelings we try to fight on a daily basis. “Indulging in nostalgia is different from reminiscing and can counteract loneliness, boredom, and anxiety and inspire optimism,” she wrote in a Psychology Today blog. “(E)xperience is a prized possession that no one can take away.”
Let out a heavy sigh: If life is weighing you down, sometimes letting it all out through your breath is the only way to lift yourself up. When we focus on our breath, we have the power to calm our nervous system so we can get ourselves back to balance. But if you’re looking for a way to ignite your inner zen – and fast – you can quickly reset your body and mind through deep sighs. Talk about an easy, feel-good way to power through tension.
Visit your local café: While that 3pm caffeine habit may not be the best idea for your sleep, inhaling the heavy, warm aroma of the drink can be smart. Next time you’re feeling a little frustrated, head over to the nearest cafe (or coffee pot). In a small study on rats, researchers found that the smell of coffee reduced stress levels. Forget about stopping to smell the roses – we’ll be stopping to smell the latte.
Paint your thoughts blue: If you’re a little overwhelmed or high-strung, try visualising (or surrounding yourself with) the color blue. Color psychology associates the hue with a sense of calm, and some research has found that exposure to blue light can help relieve stress. Need a little help? Try picturing one of these relaxing scenes.
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