1. Gardening & Greenery
According to Patricia Farrell, PhD., author of How to Be Your Own Therapist, surrounding yourself with nature’s greenery can increase oxygen levels and help you experience more peace. In fact, one British study found that gardening can actually be as effective as pyschotherapy – and I suspect that anybody who gardens will agree!
Turning to pen and paper is a great way to reduce stress. The simple act of putting your feelings and experiences down on paper and getting them out of your system can be cathartic. I’ve been journaling for years (and I’ve saved them all and they make for great reads years later!).
3. Painting, Drawing, Sewing, Knitting
These activities require concentration and can help you take your mind off issues that might be causing stress. It can become almost meditative, forcing you to be mindfully present.
This is one of my favorites! Singing has been shown to help boost your health by raising immunity-boosting white blood cells. Now, you might need to keep in mind the people you’re around if your singing voice isn’t so good or you might actually increase their stress – ha ha! – even though you’re helping yours. Any one watch American Idol? You know what I mean.
Oh yeah! This is another favorite of mine… that’s a picture of me dancing in the produce department at Whole Foods (they haven’t kicked me out yet so I guess they don’t mind!). Dancing can release those awesome, high-inducing, feel-good endorphins. Dancing is exercise so it helps you lose weight, lower blood pressure and boost the flow of oxygen to your brain. Next time you want to boost your mood and health, put on some fun tunes (disco music for me) and shake your groove thing!
Spending time in nature can be such a calming experience. One of my favorite things to do is go on long nature walks or take short road trips (like when we went to the Mogollon Rim where I can just sit, relax, and breathe). I find such peace, and my mind opens up to new ideas and inspiration. Taking time to do this is important, so be sure to make it at least a semi-regular ritual, such as once a month, if not more, depending on where you live.