#SoulLove – Ways to Relax this Summer

“20 Ways to Relax this Summer”

Via The Scott Brothers.

“Looking for some easy ideas to help you chill out right now? These peaceful shortcuts—scents, sounds, tastes, and tricks that last anywhere from three seconds to 45 minutes—should get you there.

1. Garden your worries away

Get ready to get your hands dirty, because just 30 minutes of outdoor gardening can lead to a decrease of the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in mood, according to a 2011 study out of the Netherlands. Even caring for a window herb garden provides benefits as long as you’re playing with soil. Christopher Lowry, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Colorado at Boulder, found that soil contains a bacterium that increases the release and metabolism of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood. Dig, plant, water, weed!

2. Gaze at fish swimming

There’s a reason your dentist has an aquarium in the waiting room. According to a 2015 study by British researchers, participants who watched an aquarium display had noticeable drops in blood pressure and heart rate. The unthreatening natural setting and the biophilia effect of seeing living things thriving were found to be restorative and calming. For the next best thing to being there, the National Aquarium in Baltimore offers three live streams of fish and jellyfish, and Explore, a philanthropic live nature-cam network, offers live coverage of manatees in Florida and gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and nearly 40 peaceful streams of birds around the world.

3. Eat a warm bowl of oatmeal

Oatmeal made from whole or steel-cut oats is full of brain-modulating compounds, like GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is “a relaxing neurotransmitter,” says Kathie Swift, integrative clinical dietitian and education director at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. Swift says the body considers warm food like cooked oats soothing. She suggests topping oats with walnuts (containing serotonin and the hormone melatonin) and bananas (full of the pleasure chemical dopamine) for a truly peaceful bowl…

4. Try “beditation”

5. Read a book

6. Slide into a bath

7. Just breeeathe

8. Go wild in nature

9. Pamper your feet

10. Create a “chillax” playlist

11. Scan your body

Guide yourself to serenity with yoga nidra, says Sara Ivanhoe, director of the YogaUSC program at the University of Southern California, in L.A.: “The idea is to reach a state that is beyond sleep” by relaxing each muscle. Get into a reclined position, close your eyes, and visualize scanning your body, one area at a time. “Be aware of your right hand, then right arm, your left hand, then left arm,” says Ivanhoe. Follow with your feet, legs, torso, head, and so on. By bringing awareness to each body part, you will naturally relax tense areas….

12. Laugh out loud

13. Tuck your phone in a drawer

14. Layer on the lavender

15. Swaddle yourself

16. Get your Frida on

Play with clay, paint some paper, or color inside—or outside—the lines. It doesn’t matter the medium: A 2016 study by Drexel University, in Philadelphia, found that 45 minutes of creative activity significantly lowered levels of cortisol in the body, lessening the stress of the participants—regardless of talent level. The reason? Subjects felt free from constraints and able to lose themselves in the flow of the craft…

17. Kick your feet up—but really

18. Set a tea time

19. Yawn (on purpose)

20. Pet a pet

Want to feel as chill as a napping cat? Pet one. A 2019 study out of Washington State University found that 10 minutes of petting either a dog or a cat led to a significant reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. And not just for you: Fido feels this benefit, too!”

To read the full article, click here.

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