The race is over and our new President has been elected! This year’s election has proved to be a significant source of stress for some Americans and Donald Trump’s surprise victory may have left some people floored.
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Whether the election or other stressors in your life have you feeling anxious, try these tips from Everyday Health1 and find some inner peace.
1. Listen to Music
Across the ages, people have used music to soothe themselves and relax. According to a study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry in July 2011, music can be very effective at addressing the emotional needs of a person. The interplay of melody, harmony, and rhythm stimulate the senses and promote calmness by slowing down the breath, heart rate, and other bodily functions. Music boosts levels of the hormone dopamine, which plays a role in the reward-motivation behavior.
2. Massage Your Hand
What’s great about it is that you can do this while attending a lecture, listening to your kids fight, or sitting at your desk working. No one will notice. Simply use the thumb of one hand and press around the palm of the other hand. It’s very soothing.
3. Find Some Water
No doubt you’ve experienced the calming powers of water, whether it’s walking beside a local creek, gazing at the ocean, or relaxing in a hot tub. There may be a scientific explanation for some of this. Floating in water may actually generate the production of theta brain waves, causing deep relaxation and a kind of hypnotic state. Even living by the water is associated with good health, according to a UK study published in July 2012 in Health & Place. “Water helps in many ways,” writes Elaine Aron. “When over aroused, keep drinking it — a big glass of it once an hour. Walk beside some water, look at it, listen to it. Get into some if you can, for a bath or a swim. Hot tubs and hot springs are popular for good reasons.”
Basically you breathe in to a count of five through your mouth, and then you let out a very loud sigh — the sound you hear your teenager make.
Exercise relieves anxiety and stress in several ways. First, cardiovascular workouts stimulate brain chemicals that foster the growth of nerve cells. Second, exercise increases the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine. Third, a raised heart rate releases endorphins and a hormone known as ANP, which reduces pain, induces euphoria, and helps control the brain’s response to stress and anxiety.
6. Splash Water on Your Face
Have you ever noticed that when you splash cold water on your face, it changes your perspective — if only for a minute? A study published in Japan in 2006 showed that immersing your face in cold water produced physiological changes. Cold water quickly rouses the vagus nerve (our calming buddy), bringing down our heart rate while activating our digestive and immune systems. Apparently, the area behind our eyeballs is an easy and powerful locus of stimulation for the vagus nerve.
7. Bubble Breathe
- Breathe in for 5 seconds, then out for 5 seconds.
- Imagine you have a wand of bubbles. When you breathe out, be careful not to pop it.
- Place one flat palm on your heart, and one flat palm on your belly.
- Breathe in through your nose, and hold your breath for 5 seconds.
- Breathe out a large “bubble” though pursed lips: Blow out for five seconds.
Over time, toxins build up in your body and can cause anxiety, stress, and even illness. Your body actually releases 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. By releasing carbon dioxide that has been passed through your bloodstream into your lungs, you promote your physical and emotional health.
8. Massage Your Scalp
Results of a study published in October 2005 in The International Journal of Neuroscience showed that massage therapy decreased cortisol levels by as much as 31 percent and increased serotonin by 28 percent, and dopamine by 31 percent. Scalp massages are particularly beneficial because they send blood circulating to your brain and reduce the muscle tension in the back of your head and neck. With practice and a few tips, you can learn how to give yourself a scalp massage. A study from Osaka Medical University in Japan found that lavender oil reduced mental stress and increased alertness.
9. Close Your Eyes
Aron says that 80 percent of sensory stimulation comes in through the eyes, so shutting them every now and then gives your brain a much-needed break. Aron has also found that highly sensitive persons do better if they can stay in bed with their eyes closed for nine hours. You don’t have to be sleeping. Just lying in bed with your eyes closed allows for some chill time that you may need before being bombarded with stimulation.
10. Go Outside
Simply being with nature calms the nervous system. “People who are exposed to natural scenes aren’t just happier or more comfortable; the very building blocks of their psychological well-being also respond positively,” explained Adam Alter in his Atlantic article, “How Nature Resets Our Minds and Bodies.” He discusses one study conducted in a suburban hospital in Paoli, Pennsylvania, where patients who gazed out at a natural scene were four times better off than those who faced a wall. Alter says that healers in Japan and Germany have “long heralded the benefits of natural therapy, recognizing that humankind has spent 99.99 percent of its history living in natural environments.” Nature promotes calmness and well-being partly because it lowers stress. Breathing fresh air under a tree primes the nervous system and reverses your fight or flight response.
Get Life Alert
If you’re an aging senior who is stressed about living independently, worry no more thanks to the emergency medical alert experts over at Life Alert. By simply wearing their lightweight, waterproof emergency pendant, you can live alone with confidence because with one touch of a button can summon an emergency medical response fast! Should you find yourself in a life threatening emergency, push the button on your pendant and Life Alert’s 24/7 dispatch team will summon help fast. Regardless of who is in the White House, living the American dream includes having personal independence; retain yours with Life Alert. For a free brochure on all of their lifesaving services, call 1-800-513-2934.
- Borchard, Therese. “10 Ways to Calm Your Post-Election Nerves.” Everyday Health. 11 November 2016. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/ways-to-calm-election-nerves/ >.