To some, "finding your center"
may sound like a cheesy connotation derived from the self help
books of an overpaid guru. This was precisely what I thought
upon first hearing of the art of relaxation. After a bit of research,
though, and some actual testing of the theory, I found it to
be tremendously helpful on my journey to ease stress and further
rid my body of the pain it propels. Below are five ways in which
I find my center, and ultimately achieve one of my greatest goals:
I had never thought of aromatherapy
as an effective treatment for stress. After all, what's a few
candles going to do, anyway? What I learned about this technique,
though, is that the serenity it encompasses allows for me to
rid my mind of troubles, if even for a few minutes. Aromatherapy
overcomes stress by using one of the most innate senses: smell.
How does it rid my mind of stress? The smells, ranging from cinnamon
to kiwi flavored, evoke feelings of pleasure and contentment.
And though it may not be for everyone, I'm willing to vouch that
aromatherapy most definitely caters to the delicate senses we
often take for granted.
I have not strived to be healthy
my entire life; in fact, I found myself consuming empty calories
mixed with no aerobic activity for long periods of time. I have
done the yo-yo dieting and starvation, the odd diets with empty
feelings. But in the end, exercise mixed with a healthy diet
helped me get closer to my goal: being an individual of priceless
In accordance with this ethic, I
make an effort to exercise at least four days a week for 45 minutes
or more, and this sort of goal continues to satisfy not only
my constant stress triggers, but also my overall mentality of
my life day-to-day. Through exercise, my *endorphin levels skyrocket,
stress deteriorates, and happiness glows.
*Endorphins are a natural body
substance secreted by the pituitary gland that is similar in
action to morphin; produced by happy thoughts and feelings.
Deep breathing doesn't have to
relate to awkward "ohms" in crowed, sweaty yoga arenas.
In fact, an "ohm" isn't even required. Our breath is
one thing we are able to effectively control, minus the stress-inducing
factors all around us, and perhaps this is what makes deep breathing
such a relaxing technique: simply the feeling of taking initiative
over something in your life produces accomplishment, a dynamic
that outweighs stress any day. When practicing deep breathing,
I don't even "ohm". Instead I focus on taking the air
from within, usually what I attribute to stress and anxiety,
and releasing it through strong exhales. Deep breathing can be
done anywhere: church, bathroom, car, supermarket. A group environment
is not required.
I purchased a fountain a while
back for about seven dollars. It's a medium size pottery delight
that you can plug in and prop on a table. After relocating from
a small town to a larger city, I found that stress and anxiety
were coming at me from every angle, and I needed to find ways
to tame my state of heightened depression. After setting up the
fountain in my room and adding water, I found that the sound
soothed my senses, and soon I had this fountain running constantly,
bringing about an air of peace to my room. Simply the sound of
trickling water helped me overcome the stress and anxiety I had
been allowing to grasp my life. There are many sounds that cater
to individual needs, including waterfalls, birds, crickets, and
fires burning in the fireplace. The key is to find your sound
therapy and use it whenever possible.
Think of a beautiful place you've
always wanted to visit, real or imagined. Now try to incorporate
the five senses into the equation: sight, smell, touch, sound
and taste. Take a moment to bask in the atmosphere you've just
created. This is called visualization, where you think of a place
that soothes your senses and let the world around you stand still
for a moment. I find it to be especially helpful when I'm in
a lot of physical pain, because stress only makes it worse. My
place could be a called a stereotypical dream: Bahamas-like,
with dolphins and crystal clear waters, a little beach side-hut.
The key is to find your vacation spot somewhere in the mind,
and ultimately overcome physical and emotional stress effectively.
Aromatherapy, exercise, deep
breathing, sound therapy and visualization are only some of the
methods out there for combating stress. Inspiration for remedies
to life's everyday dilemmas lies everywhere. Finding and practicing
these invaluable methods can help you overcome the stress weighing
heavily on an otherwise happy life.