Most of us get to a point in the day or the week where we’re ready to just flip out, whether it’s work, or family, or money issues that are getting us down.
At the risk of being labeled a ‘Kumbaya’ touchy-feely kind of guy, I’d like to share four of my favorite natural health tips that help me to recharge my mind and body. They’re free, easy to do, and can be experienced without any equipment or training.
Four Easy Natural (Mental) Health Tips:
- Tree Hugging: Yep, it’s first on the list, simply because it’s predictable. Head outside and look for a tree with a circumference that you can’t reach your arms all the way around. Disregarding any funny stares you get, wrap your arms around the tree trunk, close your eyes, and just breathe. Take 15 minutes or half an hour, and just be with the tree. Ponder the miracle that turns a tiny seed into an enormous tree, and contemplate what it would be like to stand in one place and simply observe the world moving around us, as a tree does.
- Faceplant: This is probably my favorite method for dealing with stress. If you’re fortunate enough to have a yard (especially one with some green grass growing in it), you can just head outside of your house. If you don’t, or if you’re at work, head to the closest park or the nearest patch of grass. Scope out the patch so you aren’t inadvertently choosing to be at one with dog poop, and then lie down face first (you don’t have to put your face into the dirt – you can turn your head to the side). Close your eyes, breathing in the fresh smells of the soil and the plants, and breathing out your stresses and worries. Being barefoot adds to the experience, and if you have a private place, strip off your clothes and get intimate with the earth.
- Go Shoeless: I’m a big advocate of going barefoot as much as possible, especially if you have to wear shoes all day for work. Cruise over to a park or grassy area, take off your shoes and socks, and slowly walk around, concentrating only on the sensation of your bare feet on the earth. (Also, while doing this, think about the fact that many people around the world don’t even have shoes.) This is a terrific grounding exercise, and I truly believe that it can help all of us with our posture, our gait, and any foot problems we may have. In fact, we’d probably all be better off if we went without shoes as much as possible.
- Stargazing: OK, this one can’t be done during the day, and if you live in a big city, you might have to head out of town or find a dark spot nearby. I like to do this right before bed, as it puts me in a peaceful mood for sleeping. Grab a blanket or something to keep the dew off your clothes, head to your spot, and lie down on your back. (Extra points for being naked while you do this.) Don’t focus on a particular star or constellation, but try to ‘unfocus’ – take in as much of the night sky as you can without moving your head. I find that this practice helps to put my problems in perspective – we’re all on this tiny chunk of rock, surrounded by millions of other heavenly bodies, and we needn’t take ourselves or our worries too seriously, at least right at this moment.
And don’t take my word for it – according to this post at BBC, just five minutes of exercise in a “green space” such as a park can boost mental health.
What do you do to relieve stress or recharge your mind?
Image: aigarius at Flickr