One of the easiest and most effective ways to alleviate stress and bring calm to our nervous systems is through a variety of simple breathwork exercises. Anytime you find yourself in a situation where you start to feel overwhelm, disconnection from your body or environment, agitation or distress if you can take two or three minutes to perform any one of these simple techniques, you are sure to find some immediate relief and regain focus.
Try one of these techniques daily, or try them all over the course of a week, and make note of how each one has a slightly different over all effect on the body and mind. Our breath can never exist in the past or the future, only right now in the present moment. So, breathwork is extremely grounding and brings conscious awareness to your day, in a similar way to a meditation practice. Schedule a few minutes in to your morning ritual and again before bed and you will breath easier through all your days.
One of the easiest ways to gain multiple health benefits at once is to get outside and immerse yourself in nature. Fresh air, sunshine and the beauty of nature surrounding you will hit the reset button on your nervous system and give your immune system a boost. This can calm the mind and rejuvenate our creativity.
No matter where you live there's always an option to get out and commune with the trees and take in the bird song, sunshine and cloudscapes that grace our world with beauty, daily.
In Japan there is a term, shinrin yoku, that translates to "Forest Bathing" in English.... this is when you immerse yourself in a woodland setting and take in the smells, visuals and the grounding effects of the natural world around you. In our modern world many of us have become disconnected from the natural world that we are wholly meant to be a part of. Spending time outdoors regularly is proven to lower heart rate, decrease the production of stress hormones, elevate our levels of happiness and help us recover more rapidly from illness.
There are multiple studies that prove an increase in creative problem solving skills after a spending less than a week in nature and disconnecting from our smart phones and tablets. While many of us cannot manage taking several days at a time to get out into the woods, most all of us can manage an hour or two every few days at a local park or off a hiking trail.
According to the EPA (the environmental protection agency) who conducted a recent study, Americans spend around 93% of their time indoors. When we get outside our senses are stimulated in ways that greatly impact our wellbeing. Let yourself wander in the woods, greet the trees as our neighbors, watch the activity of the sweet, little birds and allow yourself to feel gratitude for the natural world that supports us, for we would truly be lost without it. This cultivates gratitude in a way that you will carry with you in other areas of life.