We know what you’re thinking. How can I even attempt to get any relief from stress when you already know that I’m always on the go? Who has time to even sit down and read this? Certainly not us! While all that may be true, we’re still here to simply suggest that there are a few methods that you can take that will allow you to stop and smell the roses while you still get your hustle on.
It’s been widely studied when it comes to music and stress that music is often a way to get that stress monkey off your back - even if only temporarily, however when you’re a musician yourself and sometimes that piece that you’re composing or that performance that you’re worried about can be the source of your stress itself. This is where it gets tricky. This is where we need to get creative in our strategies of living.
Now, we all know the typical methods of squashing your anxiety, depression and stress. Everyone says to focus on proper sleep, diet, exercise and healthy relationships with family, friends and beyond. We all sincerely must be sure to get a handle on these methods, but today we are going to explore the more unique and less common ways of relieving stress.
According to New York Times health columnist Jane Brody - "Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind/body medicine and author of The Relaxation Response, says that the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga. Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol."
Vent. While writing down definitely helps, it may also benefit you to imagine that trauma and emotional pain can be thought of as a physical element. If you had a tree branch stuck in your arm, would you leave it there and just suffer? No. Take that into consideration when you let your mind suffer in the rut that you can sometimes fit yourself in. You may not realize it but not only are you holding so much of your tension in your body all day long, by tensing up the muscles throughout your entire body - but this behavior follows suit with your brain too. It’s incredibly important to find a loyal friend or family member who is willing to listen. If you don’t feel comfortable spilling your secrets to someone who you fear may judge you or even worse, repeat it, then find your favorite teddy bear or just go out and scream in the wilderness! While we’re on the topic, have you heard of Scream Therapy?
“Scream therapy is exactly what you're probably picturing; it involves standing in a warrior pose and literally screaming at the top of your lungs. And it's controversial among psychologists. "Screaming was a principal component of a psychological treatment known as Primal Therapy," says Franklin Porter, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in New York. Established by psychotherapist Dr. Arthur Janov, Primal Therapy is rooted in the idea that certain therapeutic behaviors-chief among them screaming your head off-can help you tap into repressed issues, ultimately releasing and working through them. It became popular in the 60s (John Lennon was reportedly a big fan) as a kind of therapist-sanctioned way to release anger and frustration or take the edge off of building feelings of anxiety.” Despite the fact that you may not feel comfortable to just let it all out at such a loud boom, you may want to adopt the ideas behind this method. The idea that letting go can truly be freeing and it may be less mysterious and invisible of a force than it has seemed.
Taking a nap is a wonderfully underrated way to start off the day on the right foot - for the second time. If the morning half of your day didn’t go as planned, instead of trudging along in a so-so mood for the remainder of the day, it may really pay off to give yourself a solid 25 minute nap of flawless sleep. Not only will this give your brain a chance to breathe and reassess, your body an opportunity to heal, but it will also give you a sincere door to mentally check out for a bit. The best part of sleep for those who have an overactive mind is that once you fall asleep - you’re out of control and now at the mercy of the dreamworld! This is a sure fire way to force your mind to let go of the stressors that it’s become identified by.
Sometimes it helps to take your mind off of every single thing you have to do. We are strong believers in keeping your environment as clean, crisp and organized as possible - so make that bed and beyond! Turns out, there’s some science to it. “Researchers at Florida State University wondered if certain mundane activities of daily life, like dish-washing, could reduce stress. Using a group of 51 students, they discovered that: “…mindful dishwashers—those who focused on the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water, the feel of the dishes—reported a decrease in nervousness by 27 percent and an increase in mental inspiration by 25 percent. The control group, on the other hand, didn't experience any benefits.”
Stay tuned for future articles where we dig even deeper into the cures of stress, as in this modern world, issues seem to multiply rather than simplify. In the meantime, we suggest testing out some aromatherapy, salt rooms, bikram yoga and breathwork classes. We know that they’re all quite trendy and may be deserving of a little bit of eye-rolling but we can speak from experience that they really work. Time to exhale.