Calm Me Maybe

A blog dedicated to the eternal pursuit of happiness through all-natural methods of rest and relaxation

Repetitive motions to de-stress and calm

Everyone has their own way of dealing with life, love, and loss, but certain activities can help to relax the body and rid the mind of anxious thoughts.

Repetitive motions, like those used to knit or make jewelry, can soothe anxiety.  Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, recommends the repetition of a word, sound, phrase, muscular activity to elicit your body’s relaxation response. This reaction allows a lower heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

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Sarah (right) making jewelry with roommate Angela.

Sarah Ford, a 20-year-old student at St. Bonaventure University, began making jewelry as a hobby. She quickly found the calming properties that her interest could provide.

“Jewelry making quickly changed from a hobby to a time to clear my head and relax,” she said. “The creative process of designing patterns helps me to clear my head and focus on something easy and repetitive.”image 2

Repeating movements also allows the brain to focus on returning to that movement rather than revisiting intruding or destructive emotions.

Michele Ross, a part-time employee at a community college and full-time mother and wife, crochets to destress between working and taking care of her three-year-old daughter.

“I usually try and work on something to wind down for the night and usually go to bed afterwards,” she said.

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Michele Ross works on her crochet projects through out her busy day for stress relief.

Some experts believe that activities with repetitive motions can have the same effects on the brain as meditation.

According to Patricia Monaghan and Eleanor Viereck, authors of Meditation – The Complete Guide, “any activity that demands focus and involves some degree of repetitive activity lowers brain-wave frequency and therefore produces the effects of meditation.”

Focusing on a hobby that involves repetitive movements can steer the mind away from those less-than-desirable thoughts.  Finishing a project will replace unwanted feelings with feelings of triumph and success.

“My personal favorite part of the experience is not just the designing, but the feelings of accomplishment when I can see my feelings and ideas in my finished work,” Ford said. “It can turn any feelings into a piece of art.”

Hannah Gordon, a freshman at SBU, uses her instruments to illicit a calming sensation during times of increased stress.

“Depending on the type of stress I’m feeling I reach for my guitar, drum pad or keyboard,” she said. If I’m playing on my drum pad, I practice my rudiments, which allows my mind to just go numb for a while because most of the effort is just muscle memory.”

Hannah

Hannah playing her acoustic guitar outside her dorm room.

Gordon said playing and listening to a repetitive rhythm helps her anger or anxiety to subside, allowing her to think clearly.

“If I’m upset about something, I go for my acoustic guitar. I play rhythms with G, Em, D, and Am chords,” she said. “I usually sit on my bed, close my eyes and play it over and over again, completely tuning out the world around me.”

The soothing sounds of music combined with your own creativity provides a healthy outlet for your emotions.

“When I was really young—before I played any instruments—I wrote poetry and lyrics to express myself and relax,” Gordon said. “Ever since I started playing music, I write more poetry, but I have always gone to an instrument to de-stress and calm down.”

Our bodies have the ability to calm itself down physically and emotionally. Substitute self-medication with healthy self-expression.

 

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Water’s effect on the body and mind

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Over 60 percent of the human body is composed of water.  We’re told to get our “eight glasses a day” but up to 75 percent of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration.

Drinking more water everyday will not only keep you healthy, but it can help improve your mood.

Dehydration takes a toll on the body.  Even mild dehydration can effect cognition, concentration, and the ability to control your mood. 

Drinking water will boost your energy, helping you to feel more focused and alert. Staying hydrated will prevent feelings of fatigue, which may help reduce anxiety or stress. Water is also necessary for the body to digest and absorb vitamins, while detoxifying the liver and ridding itself of toxins.

Carry a water bottle daily to remind you to keep drinking, and your body will thank you.

In with the good, out with the bad. A healthy body will allow for a happy mind.

 

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Laughter: Your body’s all-natural medicine

Have you ever noticed how good you feel after throwing your head back and letting out your best, genuine chuckle?

Laughing is good for you!

Laughter exercises and relaxes muscles, improves respiration, stimulates circulation, increases the production of pain-killing endorphins, decreases the production of stress-related hormones, enhances immunity and induces a positive, emotional state.

If you’re having a bad day, take a minute to understand the irony of a situation and laugh about it. Allowing yourself a giggle will decrease the amount of cortisol that your body produces because of stress, which will lower your blood sugar and heart rate.  A laugh or two can also cause the body’s production of endorphins, an all-natural pain reliever.

Find a reason to laugh every day, and reap the benefits that this all-natural gift can do for your mind, body and soul.

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Yoga to get out of bed

Hello, all –

I found this post on Tumblr, and I’m so in love with it that I had to share. Enjoy!

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“So you’re in bed. You’re snug. You’re cosy. You don’t want to get out ever! But here’s 9 yoga poses to help your sleepy self get up.
1. Savasana- just chill for a bit and breath deeply and enjoy that sun streaming in
2. Cobra- stretch that back like the crazy cat you are
3. Extended child’s pose- now stretch your back the other way. Your covers come off too. Magic!
4. Camel pose- now sit on your knees and throw your arms back to your toes like some sort of shawshank redemption prison break.
5. Forward bend- now stand up on those sexy pins and try not to fall off the bed
6. Pigeon pose- almost there. Are you smiling yet? You should be you sexy minx bird of paradise
7. Seated forward fold- touch your toes! Wiggle them and giggle at your cuteness
8. Kneeling side plank variation- stretch that delish body of yours and try not to blind yourself at how radiant you are
9. Meditation- don’t think just yet. Just enjoy that beautiful stillness

Now step off that cosy bed of yours and sashay the fuck out of bed. Namaste.”

Photo credit: http://asanaambitions.tumblr.com/

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Glitter Jars

Happy Wednesday!

I’ve seen Glitter Jars all over Pinterest, which are mostly made for and used by children to help calm and ease anxiety. I never thought that it could have the same effect on adults.

With a few ingredients you could make your very own. When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or thinking about self harming,  shake the jar and watch the glitter settle. Give your mind something else to focus on after your initial freak-out to help the emotion pass.

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photo credit: glitterglisten.tumblr.com

  • 1 jar or bottle (with lid/cap)
  • 1/10 vegetable oil
  • 9/10 water
  • lots of glitter
  • food coloring

Add the water and vegetable oil together. Add a few drops of food coloring and all of the glitter. Put the lid on and shake it.

Keep calm and carry on!

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Can you do nothing for two minutes?

Doing absolutely nothing can seem so simple until you’re actually asked to do so. For just two minutes, can you sit still?

Find out here.

It took a few tries before I could do it myself. Once I did, I honestly felt better.

You owe yourself two minutes.  Take those two minutes to calm down, relax, and de-stress.

 

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The infinity symbol and your mind: EMDR therapy

Hello, beauties –

I found this on Tumblr and had to share. To keep your mind from panicking, try this:

If you follow the paintbrush with your eyes without moving your head, it forces you to use Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR); a therapeutic technique to calm anxiety.  The use of your own rapid, rhythmic eye movements can even dampen the power of emotional memories of traumatic events, and is often used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Watching fish swim will cause the same effect.

Hope this week is treating each of you well, and have a lovely day!

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Real talk on Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s that time of year again.

Waking up to a light dust of snow this morning only made me want to curl back up into the ball that I had just forced myself out of.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is beginning to seep inside the lives of the Vitamin D deprived, and let me be the first to say that it blows.

Living with a mental illness is difficult enough. When the temperature drops, so will my optimism.  I’ve felt the lowest of lows while the snow falls, and I know I’m not alone.

I began this post planning to mention all-natural ways to help relieve that pain – Vitmain D supplements, exercise, or specialized lamps that mimic sunlight.

Instead, here are a few reminders.

You are loved.

You are special. You are important.  You are beautiful. You are unique.

No one should ever make you feel inferior or unworthy of anything – especially your life.

Feel that heartbeat? You’re here for a reason, and it would be a damn shame for that to be cut short. You don’t know what you’re capable of yet, but you owe it to yourself to find out.

Go ahead. Show that stunning smile off.

Not ready? That’s okay too, but take the time to make yourself better. You are worth it.

The sun may set, and it may not shine so bright all the time, but it will rise again and so will you.

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A good night’s slumber: all-natural healing for the mind and body

You can do everything to stay healthy – eat right, exercise, even take your vitamins.

Sleep however, can be prioritized at the end of our to-do lists so often that we forget just how essential it is.  Without it, our bodies are losing time allotted for healing and repairs. 

You’re busy, but a satisfying snooze is worth it.

Here’s why – Sweet dreams

During the day, our body uses the sympathetic nervous system, which expels energy and tears down the body.  Lawrence Wilson, MD, says that this is balanced by the parasympathetic system associated with rest, nurturing and regeneration of body tissues.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Anything less than that means your physical and mental performance will suffer.  An illness can even develop because your body won’t have the time to repair its damages. The less you sleep, the weaker your immune system will be.

Your body needs to unwind, and so does your mind.  Sleep on it. Allowing your mind to rest will help you make more rational decisions, and you’ll be happier that way.

You won’t be your very best self without it. 

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Tricks and treats: How to naturally spoil yourself but not your diet this Halloween

Halloween marks the beginning of the let-me-eat-all-the-delicious-holiday-treats-in-sight season.

Here are some all-natural recipes that will allow you to do so without completely destroying your waistline. A healthy body equals a happy mind!

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

1. Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

Peal a clementine and stick a small piece of celery in the top of it, or put different sized chocolate chips into half of a banana.   These treats are not only incredibly easy and fast to put together, but they are completely all-natural and healthy.  Kids will love these too!

Photo credit: brooklynsupper.com

Photo credit: brooklynsupper.com

2. Apple Chips

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Make this common fruit into a delicious, healthy, fall snack. Use organic apples to achieve an all-natural finished product.  This can also be a sugar-free recipe.  Find it here.

Photo credit: Stretch Island Fruit Company

Photo credit: Stretch Island Fruit Company

3. Fruit roll mummies

These treats are easy too! By using all-natural versions of each ingredient, you can make these little organic snacks yourselves.  Find the recipe here.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

4. Sweet Potato Jack-O-Lanterns

Try this healthy-alternative to the french-fry.  Use organic sweet potatoes and adjust the sugar and butter ratio to your liking.  If you choose to use a different cookie cutter pattern, that’s fine too! Find it here.

Photo credit: babble.com

Photo credit: babble.com

5. Carrot-Apple Mini-Muffins

These muffins won’t fill you with sugar! Naturally sweetened with honey, carrots and apples, these muffins are a

healthier option than most deserts.  Find the recipe here.

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