Find Your Happy Place: 5 Simple Ways to Get There
Not my favourite way to start the day.
My week started out with sleeping through my alarm, then waking up thinking….hmm that’s weird, my alarm didn’t go off….but wasn’t worried because it was so dark outside I figured it must be early. One glance at the clock would quickly set me straight and I realized that I only have half an hour to get ready and get out the door. Let the panic begin!
I’m going to be honest here, I’m SO DONE with the dreary winter weather. I’m ready for SPRING!! The gray, snow, cold, fog and rain has me feeling unmotivated, tired and just blah. Now, I realize I frequently promote embracing the day, whatever it may bring and I still think that’s important, but I’m also human and have my breaking points and earlier this week….well, it was close. I knew it was going to take some serious intervention to get my mood back up to a place where I was functioning with a more positive mindset.
I’m sure you can relate to me, and maybe it’s not waking up late and the weather that gets you to this point, maybe it’s something else…..your job, your hectic schedule, your commute, your health, etc. We all have that point where we want to just throw our hands up and get into fetal position and hide under a blanket on the couch all day. You are not alone in feeling that way!
But, the world does move forward and we have to find a way to move forward with it.
So what did I do to get myself back on track?
Here 5 simple things you can do to help yourself get out of a funk.
1. Don’t forget to breathe. Have you ever heard of the fight or flight response? It’s what our bodies do to confront or avoid the danger that is being perceived. This response hasn’t evolved beyond what we would have originally needed it for when responding to living in the wild.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically have to run for my life from lions, tigers and bears. But, your body doesn’t realize that you aren’t running from a ravenous animal and continues to invoke this response even if it’s simply because your alarm didn’t go off on time.
Having your body exist in this fight or flight state can start to cause health issues like high blood pressure, it suppresses the immune system and can contribute to anxiety and depression (1).
So, you see why it’s important to find a way to respond more appropriately?
When you are faced with one of these situations, STOP. Stand, sit or walk calmly and just start taking some deep breaths. Focus on your breathing and really feel it coming in through your nose and visualize it entering every cell of your body. Breathe into your belly, not your lungs. Relax your shoulders and your face. And just breathe. You can practice slowing you breath down by counting to 5 as you breathe in, hold your breath in for 2 seconds and release your breath for another 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle a few times and you will notice your tension release.
The best way to get the most out of using your breath to calm your stress is to practice doing this simple technique every day. Set aside 5-10 minutes a day to focus and breathe.
2. Drink tea. Now don’t freak out. I know it’s not your beloved cup of joe but herbal tea has some pretty amazing health benefits and is super yummy!
In cultures around the world people have been brewing leaves, fruits, flowers, roots, bark and berries for centuries. Here’s why:
- research suggests the antioxidants in tea help protect against cancer
- tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), which means it helps destroy free radicals that can damage DNA
- tea is primarily water and therefore naturally hydrating
For me, holding a hot cup of tea, smelling it’s beautiful aroma and sipping on it slowly is so therapeutic.
Look for teas that are known to be helpful in reducing stress like:
Lemon Balm Tea: is a calming herb that actually belongs to the mint family. It has an earthy fresh lemon flavour guaranteed to make you feel more aligned with a positive mindset. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol and relaxes the body without causing drowsiness AND also helps to elevate the mood! (2)
Siberian Ginseng: helps the body cope with stress by encouraging the adrenal glands to secrete stress fighting hormones (3) Sip on this earthy, slightly sweet tea to maintain a well balanced mood.
3. Diffuse Citrus Oils. Don’t underestimate the power of aromatherapy. Your sense of smell can quickly bring you to a memory or emotion and there’s actually good reason for this.
“One reason this might be has to do with the way your brain processes odors and memories. Smells get routed through your olfactory bulb, which is the smell-analyzing region in your brain. It’s closely connected to your amygdala and hippocampus, brain regions that handle memory and emotion.” (4)
On days when I’m needing a bit of a boost my go to oils are citrus oils. Lemon, wild orange, grapefruit and a new fav bergamot are all excellent at lifting your spirits and bringing that fresh, bright aroma to the space you’re in.
An added bonus is that these oils also cleanse the air!
One of my favourite diffuser blends is wild orange and peppermint together….give it a try!
For more information on essential oils, visit me here.
4. Surround yourself with high-vibing people. It’s often been suggested that you are the company you keep. So, if you are having a particularly crumby day and are needing some support….make it happen by reaching out!
There’s nothing weak or wrong with admitting you are not in a good place and confiding in those people you hold closest to you. A simple lunch date, coffee or just a quick conversation on the phone could be the one thing that really turns your day around……so don’t put it off! They will be happy you contacted them.
Aside from calling my husband or my sisters for support, a good snuggle from my nieces or nephew is always a good remedy!!
5. Throw on some tunes. I’m no music connoisseur but I know when it makes me feel good. I will often use google play and choose the mood I want to feel from their playlists. I like it because I never know what song is going to be coming on next and often times I’m introduced to new music that I would never have thought to put on myself. Music can change your mood in an instant and create a lightness that wasn’t there before.
It makes sense that lullabies exist to calm babies and guide them into a restful state. When we’re kids one of the main ways that we connect and learn is through song!
“Listening to music can create peak emotions, which increases the amount of dopamine, a specific neurotransmitter that is produced in the brain and helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.” (5)
So go for it….get your groove on!
(1) Harvard Health Publications. (March 18, 2016) Relaxation Techniques: Breath control help quell errant stress response (article). Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response
(2) Toby Nwazor (June 23, 2016). 6 Natural Tea Remedies for Stress and Anxiety (blog post) Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toby-nwazor/6-natural-tea-remedies-fo_b_10619928.html
(3) Gemma Herditch (October 22, 2016). Stress-How to Bust it Naturally. (blog post) Retrieved from https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/blog/stress-how-to-bust-it-naturally also https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/siberian-ginseng
(4) Dr. Mercola (August 6, 2015). Why Smells Can Trigger Strong Memories (article) Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/08/06/smells-trigger-memories.aspx
(5) Barry Goldstein (2017). Music and the Brain: The Fascinating Ways that Music Affects Your Mood and Mind. (article) Retrieved from http://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/music-and-the-brain-affects-mood/