What do you do when you’re stressed? Do you find yourself binge-eating, smoking or drinking alcohol? Whilst these can all give you a boost in mood, they are only ‘quick fixes’. More alarming, they can actually ruin your health in the long run.
There’s no need to engage in unhealthy
habits like these. Studies show that there better, safer and more effective ways to de-stress, and most of then call for creativity. Well, don’t be anxious. You need not be a great artist like Van Gogh to reap the stress-relieving benefits of creativity. There are simple, fun and enjoyable creative tasks that you can do (and do imperfectly) to free your mind from stress and take your health to the next level!
Revamp your house.
If you can’t, just your room then. Try rearranging the furniture, replacing the mattresses, or changing your room’s colours. Little research has been done about the health benefits of crafting, but neuroscientists are beginning to see that it is a great way to reduce stress, boost happiness, and protect your brain from potential damage.
Knitting can take you into a state of flow. Experts say such kind of activity may help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain. This, combined with the stress-relieving properties that come with the simple act of crafting, will leave you feeling relaxed the entire time. Not only that, once you’ve finished your craft, you will find even more happiness.
Writing can be a powerful transformational tool. You need not be a professional writer or a poet. You just have to let your emotions flow through your pen. There’s been a lot of research on the health benefits of writing, and one of which is that it’s stress-relieving. Writing may speed emotional healing, aid in better sleep and improve your stress levels. It can even make physical wounds heal faster, New Zealand researchers found. Another study published in the journal The Oncologist, showed that expressive writing could help cancer patients not only think about their disease in a different way, but also improve their quality of life. Furthermore, researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of Miami found that people who kept a gratitude journal that they wrote in once a week for two months were more optimistic about life (and, interestingly, exercised more), compared with people who did not keep such a journal.
Even if you’re not good at it, painting can have healing effects. Pablo Picasso once said it is “just another way to keep a diary”. According to Stanford University researchers, the art of painting can promote the development of self-concept, help children develop fine motor skills and even improve the brain’s ability to integrate creative thinking into something concrete.
Sing your heart out.
You need not have the voice like Beyoncé or Adele to reap the benefits of singing. On your next day-off, go to the nearest karaoke bar with your friends and sing your heart out! When you sing, your brain releases endorphins – the ‘feel good’ chemicals that have been scientifically proven to help with anxiety, lower stress and elevate your mood.
Play your favourite tunes and try out some silly moves in your living room or office (just make sure the door is closed!). Moving your body and singing along is a great way to shake off all that built-up muscle tension.
Connect with nature.
Hike through the woods, walk in the park, stroll on the beach or kayak up a creek. Breathing in the outdoors enables you to leave the everyday world behind and ward off stress.
By Rebecca Lewis, Natural Therapies for All on July 01, 2014
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