Stress is an equal-opportunity energy sucking, free-for-all condition of life. No one takes on stress willingly or says, “Stress? Yes, please.” And because stress is something we can’t avoid, nature has equipped us with ways to counteract it—we can use our five senses to beat stress.
Stress causes us to disconnect from ourselves, causing us to become absorbed and distracted, but by using your 5 senses—sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, you can counteract the negative effects of stress and bring a little Zen into your hectic life. For those who are cut off from one sense, like sight or hearing, Mother Nature compensates by heightening the other senses. Try using your five senses and see which ones work best for you in the battle against stress.
It’s amazing what the power of colors can do to calm the mind. Light blues and greens as well as earth tones can evoke the peaceful feeling we get from nature, similar to blue skies and green grass, plants and trees. If your stress derives from not being able to accomplish goals, hanging pictures with an inspirational color like red in your office can help your brain light up with ideas.
Speaking of nature to beat stress, take a few minutes out of your busy day to get outside and listen to the wind and the birds and the other sounds of nature. If you’re not in a position to do that, try a soothing symphony to calm your mind or listen to anything you know will lift you out of the stress zone. If calm isn’t your path to beating stress, you can always turn on some dance music and dance your stress away.
An olfactory experience can transport you back in time and conjure good (and bad) memories, so surround yourself with scents that put a smile on your face. Scents can be enjoyed individually or in combination, like eucalyptus and mint, to both relax and renew. Lavender has long been used to promote relaxation and beat stress, but if that’s not your cup of tea, an article on psychologytoday.com mentioned a study wherein jasmine tea was inhaled for five minutes, causing the study participants to experience a calm feeling as well as the benefits of a lowered heart rate.
Hugging, touching and feeling the warmth of human contact is not to be overlooked when it comes to ways to beat stress. Even petting your pet can create a similar affect—increasing levels of the good hormone oxytocin in both you and your animal friend, as well as lowering blood pressure. Similarly, getting a massage not only releases toxins from your body, it increases oxygen flow and relaxes those stressed-out muscles, like your tight neck and shoulders—the region where we carry stress most.
It’s official! Chocolate not only tastes good but it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to beat stress. The antioxidants in dark chocolate can help you fight the ravages of stress, and chocolate is also effective in lifting your mood. But if chocolate is not your thing or you’re looking for a more health-conscious way to use taste to beat stress, try eating healthy fats like those found in nuts, seeds, or avocados, for example. Also, lean proteins not only taste good but they go a long way to balancing out the spikes and depressions in blood pressure. You can’t be relaxed if your blood pressure is out of whack! Spices also help beat stress, not only through their scents, but their taste and the many different benefits they provide to the body, for an all-over experience.
Use what Mother Nature gave you! Use your five senses to beat stress and reconnect your mind, body and soul!