Stress making you crazy? We hear you. You probably know that some of the best ways to relieve stress include exercising, talking to friends, or simply getting outside. But what if you can’t make it to the gym for your one-hour workout?
Practicing mindfulness can be an effective alternative though. This pulls us into the present moment and can reduce our stress with minimal time and effort. Five ways we can use our surroundings to do this are to:
1. Decorate with lavender
This herb has a soothing scent that can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, both of which can help you relax and even drift off to sleep. Put dried lavender in a vase near your bed or slather on moisturizer infused with lavender.
2. Surround yourself with plants.
Surrounding ourselves with trees and grass can have a positive effect on our well-being by removing us from stressful urban environments. This gives us a chance to take deep breaths, reset our attention, and focus on the most important parts of our lives.
3. Look at the sky.
If you don’t have the time to find trees and water, just look up at the sky, wherever you happen to be. I’ve always loved watching thunderstorms, but the sky offers countless opportunities for us to sit back and take our minds off of our problems.
Spotting funny shapes in clouds is useful for expanding our own creativity. A good sunset, on the other hand, with its wide spectrum of colors, helps us appreciate the beauty of the world, even if we’ve had an awful day.
And at night the sky is lit up with the soft glow of the moon and the stars. These remind us that, in the grand scheme of things, our troubles are often a lot smaller than they feel at that particular moment.
4. Take a bath
Soaking in water has a soothing effect, experts say, since it connects us to our time in the womb. Add lavender bath oils or aromatherapy candles and you’re well on your way to complete Zen. You might find that the cool water is able to carry your problems away with it.
5. Focus on the outside world.
When we are stuck in the office though, sometimes the best method for us is to spend a moment quietly observing the world outside of our windows. If you can see water, or trees, these can offer similar benefits as being in nature.
If you are in a high-rise building, and are surrounded by concrete and glass, try observing whatever is outside. Watch the cars driving by, the flashing lights of the billboards, or the people scurrying to and from work. This gives our brains a break and reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles.
Stress can come at inconvenient moments when we are unable to devote much time and energy to mitigate it. Using mindfulness to observe the world around us, even if only for a minute or two, can have immediate positive effects. .