Despite appearances, I’m not the calmest kid on the block.
I’m calmer than I used to be for sure, but there were days when I was a bit high strung and easily upset-able. It’s been one of my “growing edges,” as they say — one I’ve been working on for years. In my quest to calm the frick down, I’ve tried everything, finding what works and what doesn’t. It’s been a lot of work, but so so so worth it. Relaxing and calming down can and will change your life. (It has mine.)
So today we’re going to talk relaxation and the importance of de-stressifying your life.
But, wait… this is where you say, “That’s all fine and good, Ann. But it’s the holidays…
I know… the holidays certainly aren’t usually seen as a “calm time.” As joyful as we’re meant to be, there are usually a bevy of stressful situations mixed in with the jolly like a poorly spiked punch.
Aunt Agatha storms off because cousin Eddie starts talking politics. You find out last minute that your sister can’t actually cook the Christmas seitan like she said she would, and dinner’s in two hours. Or maybe it’s just that your jeans already aren’t fitting like you want them to, and then Mom brings her plate of fudge… causing a simultaneous mouth watering/inner weeping cognitive dissonance situation that you’d rather not to admit to.
We feel you. We do.
So we thought that this was the perfect period of the year to remind you of the whys, hows, and whats of relaxing and de-stressing. We truly hope that these tips will help you this season, and always.
Remember… stress can cause, and certainly exacerbate, dis-ease… so as playful as we may be, when it comes to the seriousness of this topic, we’re not playing around.
From a physiological standpoint, in order to relax the body, we need to move from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system, where our heart rate slows down, our muscles calm down, and our digestion works properly.
It just means that our body and mind calms down to the benefit of our our organs, tissues, systems, and cells.
Stressed? Look at your environment – that which surrounds you, most especially your living space, and your relationships. Evaluating your environment with a kind but critical eye will help you to de-stress in the here and now, while also possibly giving you insight into root causes of stress. (See: Feng shui.)
Here are some ideas to improve your environment:
So we’ve just discussed some treatments and de-stressing practices, but it’s also phenomenally important to get to the root cause of your stress.
Ask yourself, What am truly stressed about? It could be something obvious or easily identifiable like an unhealthy relationship or a stressful work environment, or it could be (and often is,) something much deeper. It can take some time to uncover root causes, so be patient with yourself and don’t give up.
Some powerful practices that help us find root causes:
According to Nutritionfacts.org, it’s been reported that vegetarians are less stressed than omnivores. From a chemical perspective, it’s possibly due to the lack of arachidonic acid in vegetarian diets. Arachidonic acid is found in animal products, which purportedly causes mood disturbance, depression, anxiety and stress symptoms. (But you don’t have to take our word for it… we encourage everyone to do their own research. Start here.)
So there you have it… the why, what, and how leading a more relaxed life. Remember… relaxing and reducing stress isn’t a woo-woo concept, it’s a serious health practice that could save your life. Take it from someone who hasn’t always been as calm — you don’t have to be as stressed as you think you do.Here’s to a calm and peaceful holiday season, dear readers. Take some time for you.
P.S. Need a few tips for staying healthy in the coming weeks? Here’s our 15 Ways to Be Healthy During the Holidays.