Whether it is due to over-scheduling your days, taking on too many responsibilities, or just plain emotional turmoil, being stressed out is something you’d probably like to experience less often. So how do we do that without taking a vacation to Bali, or immersing ourselves in a Jacuzzi filled with unicorn tears?
Well, there are ways to reduce your stress levels almost instantly- and there is no need to book a ticket, or find a mythical creature.
One study from the Journal of Behavioral Medicine discovered that participants’ blood pressure was significantly reduced when they combined stress management techniques with relaxation imagery, or even when they just used imagery alone.
Another study, published in the journal Europe PubMed Central, researched how effective the use of imagery was on breast cancer patients, and they found similar benefits. In fact, they discovered that those who used imagery to cope with their disease experienced significantly reduced stress levels, and more energy than those who did not use the technique.
In addition to these studies, there have been many other examples of successful testing from using imagery to reduce stress levels in patients suffering from PTSD, depression, and other stress-inducing conditions, including occupational and mental stress.
Increase the amount of green spaces in your area to induce a sense of calm. A study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning found that “people’s stress levels are directly related to the amount of green space in their direct surroundings. The more green space surrounds them the less stressed a person is likely to be.”
And don’t forget the aquarium! The Washington Post recently reported on the beneficial effects of watching fish in an aquarium. As they stated, “Scientists at the National Marine Aquarium recently had the chance to study how one of its larger exhibits was affecting people while it was being slowly restocked with new fish.”
“Even watching a normal tank — the light and the movement of the artificial seaweed — was quite relaxing for people,” said lead researcher at the National Aquarium, Deborah Cracknell. “But when we added fish, it definitely did make a difference.”
Raven Fon is a freelance writer and a globetrotting journalist. She studied creative writing and journalism at Saint Petersburg College and has since been a contributor to several written and online publications including her own MysticalRaven.com She is an avid lover of cartoons and comics and believes everyone writes better while wearing a cape.