Having an off day? Can't pull yourself out of funk?
Are you anxious, worried or can't seem to concentrate?
According to Dr. Ian Robertson, author of The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper (Bloomsbury), you can alter your mood and boost your confidence by simply squeezing your right hand into a fist.
Begin by lightly squeezing your right hand for approximately 45 seconds. Then relax it for 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle as required.
Dr. Robertson states this action boosts the activity in the left frontal area of the brain that is part of the reward-seeking network of the brain.
Additional benefits that can be experienced with this quick and easy technique include perseverance in problem solving and improved memory when trying to remember things such as new skills, or names of people.
Needless to say squeezing the left hand in this manner can increase negative emotions.
So the next time you feel the blues coming on, you feel nervous and/or your mind is racing in a million directions, try this little gem of a self care idea.
Much has been written about the benefits of art and self care. Regardless of whether you appreciate a work of art that someone else did, or you create one yourself, there is something special about the way creativity can reach deep into the soul and unfurl an array of subconscious thoughts, dreams and desires.
Creating art is a form of self-expression. It holds the potential for tapping into the core of who we are, what we believe, what we stand for.
So often people shy away from picking up a paintbrush, a pastel or a marker, believing they are incapable of creating anything of worth. Too often we judge our efforts by the finished product. Which is why I love intuitive art.
Intuitive art is all about the process of creating, and not the finished product. There are no rules, no techniques to master, no planning required. It is the act of showing up and being guided by the blank canvas and your own intuition. It is giving yourself permission to get lost in the swirling array of colours, choice of medium and/or a variety of textures. Dismiss the idea of perfectionism, set aside comparison, leave behind judgement and surrender to the still small voice inside that is relishing the ability to bring inner most thoughts and ideas to the surface.
I encourage you to find time this week to splash some colour on some paper or canvas.
You may be surprised at how nurturing it can be.
Self care is all about nourishing ourselves inside and out. And what better way to do that than a hot cup of tea on a cold winter's day?
With specialty tea stores cropping up everywhere, there is no shortage of places to find exotic blends that are sure to appeal. My favourite is Spirit Oak Tea Company in Kenora, Ontario.
(www.spiritoaktea.com) Specializing in hand blended, organic teas, I can always count on them to provide an array of tantalizing flavours, fascinating ingredients and an abundance of choices to suit any mood or ailment.
Feeling dragged out and tired? Maybe a yerba mate or an energizing tea with guayusa will boost your energy. (Guayusa is a super leaf from a type of holly tree native to the rainforest. It is packed with caffeine and has twice the antioxidants of green tea.)
Need something to calm frazzled nerves? How about a blend that has skullcap in it? Skullcap is a member of the mint family and has long been used in Chinese Medicine for its anti-inflammatory and sedative qualities.
Concerned about your health? The popularity of chaga mushroom tea is rapidly increasing. Known for its immune boosting, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory effects, natural health care practitioners often recommend this tea for its numerous healing properties.
So put on the kettle, place your favourite blend in to brew, then sit back and enjoy a few moments of peace.
Ever had one of those days where you feel like you are walking through a minefield, tip toeing around possible detonations? The stress has you on high alert, your fight or flight mechanism (the body's natural response to stress) has kicked in and you feel like your mind is racing in a million different directions.
How we react to those kinds of days is important when it comes to self care. Taking a moment to recognize what the stress is doing to you, how it is manifesting in your own body is a great starting point. Feel where you hold the stress - are your muscles tense, is your posture slumped, are your hands and feet freezing? Take a moment to feel the feelings.
And then just breathe.
I know - sounds way too simple. There was a time when I was a huge naysayer. But if you can get past the "this is never going to work on me" mindset, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Doesn't need to be fancy. No need for inhale with one nostril closed, etc. (Although you may want to progress to other styles once you've been able to appreciate the effectiveness of the breath.) Feel the breath flooding through your body, infusing cells with nutrients and oxygen. Feel the muscles unwind.
In doing so you will be able to slow your heart rate down, reduce anxiety and refocus your energy.
It's quick, it's simple and it works. Practising this technique every day increases awareness on how truly effective the breath can be in keeping us calm and grounded.
Hope your week is manageable!