3 Paths to Peace: Scientifically Proven Relief for Stressed-Out Parents
Millions of dollars are spent every day to reduce the effects of stress. Prescriptions, books, self-help seminars, and lotions & potions are eagerly accepted as a way to feel less anxious, stressed and depressed. We’re not knocking these remedies as some can be effective, but let’s look at some ways that are not only scientifically proven, but also easy to start right away!
Color Me Happy
Have you noticed the offerings of coloring books for adults lately? There not just at bookstores, but at big box stores and even gas stations. People are also posting their masterpieces on Facebook and Instagram. Why are adults coloring in these fancy coloring books? It’s both fun and relaxing!
Various forms of the arts (visual arts, writing, music, and dance) have been clinically used for more than a century for therapeutic relief. Recently, more studies have been conducted to examine how coloring affects cancer patients. The study, published in the journal Psycho-Oncology showed coloring was therapeutic and helped with the diagnosis and healing.
Pack your colored pencils or markers and take them to work for your lunch break. Coloring can free up your cluttered mind and allow new ideas to flow. Get one for home – when the kids are in bed, pour yourself a cup of chamomile tea and within minutes, the stress of the day will melt away.
Nature Deficit Disorder
Nature Deficit Disorder – the idea that adults and children are missing out on connecting with nature – was first coined by Richard Louv, author of The Last Child in the Woods. Studies in Mind and Environmental Science and Technology tell us that our mood is significantly improved when we spend time outside and live in greener areas. We are calmer and less stressed. We also have an improved psychological well-being, meaningfulness, and energy. Studies show that people even connect more with neighbors and are more involved in their communities when they live in greener areas.
This doesn’t mean you have to pack your bags and leave your townhouse in the city, but if you seek out more green space on a daily basis, you’ll reap the rewards towards good mental health.
Adjust Your Set Point
Way back in the late 1960’s, Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School conducted a scientific “Set Point Study”, in which scientists found that that we all have a tendency to have specific set points in our brain for good and bad emotions. People who are generally happier have more activity in the frontal lobes, while anxious people have more activity on the right side of the brain.
Further study found that even when an extremely happy event like winning the lottery occurs, the brain chemistry switched back to its normal set point within months – so being rich may not automatically create (permanent) happiness after all!
This is why daily meditation can be so helpful. His study showed that high blood pressure, heart disease, migraines, and even diabetes and arthritis could benefit from meditation. When you meditate, the brain’s alpha activity increases, which is a good sign of relaxation.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to meditation:
- Choose a comfortable place where you can sit or lie down.
- Take a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully.
- Now breathe out slowly through your mouth or your nose; whichever feels more natural for you.
- Close your eyes and visualize a tranquil scene or focus at an object in front of you. Having a focal point is essential to keeping your mind from wandering, which will happen from time to time. When it does, cue yourself back to the focal point and breathing.
Five minutes is good for beginners, but if you work up to 20 minutes, it’s even better!
What are some ways you like to relax? Share your tips for melting the stress away!Tags : relationships stress