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  • Writer's pictureMARY LIGHT ND MH LMT

Tips for De- stressing

Stress - that sure is a much used word these days! I will not deny that there are issues to react to , but we can learn new patterns of response I am not talking about "managing" stress. I am talking about actually feeling less stress in our lives- after all, what is more stressful than nearly always feeling negative emotions like worry, anxiety, anger, et cetera, and having them linger.

Meditation is a #1 practice to heal and balance the patterns in the mind. Thankfully, there is no "best" or "right" way to meditate. Long ago when I was starting out learning all this there was a fair amoung of dogma out there. You can ignore that now! No, you do not need to worry about kundalini, or engage in sitting up ramrod straight,or having your legs crossed .....A comfortable chair or bed or lying down on something comfortable is all you need. You do need to be comfortable- and I have been introduced to some very uncomfortable ways of meditating in the past- reject! I have meditated on an airplane in coach.

For many, starting out with guided meditation is a nice and effective way to attune the mind to the practice. It used to be we'd make or buy a tape to listen to - now we have digital technology abounding . As of late I like this resource, (they have lots of choices!) which I use nearly daily - a ten, or 20 or 30 min. narration from my phone set on my night table:

Eye pillows- not just for daylight times. An eye pillow is a super little aid to assist the ocular muscles and facial muscles to relax. What a treat, since we "face" the world every day and take on an onslaught. Eye pillows also block out light, and thus the sense of sight. My favorite kind is stuffed with flax seed. You can get one for under ten dollars, from many sources: etsy, amazon, Massage Warehouse, yoga stores. Get a couple washable pillow cases as well, because eye pillows cannot be washed, due to the stuffing, which, again, is often flax seed.

Essential Oils- One drop goes a long way. Try chamomile, lavender, a rose blend. Bindi massage oil offers a nice blend of rose and sandalwood. Consider putting a drop at the top of your sternum , or a drop on your pillow.

Adaptogens- this is a general class of herbs, including ashwaganda, rhodiola, tulsi, fo ti, siberian ginseng, and others. Again, a little goes a long way, although I find adaptogens work best as a tonic taken several times a week. An herbalist can guide. You can learn to make your own. A teaspoon of mixed powders is my preferred dose. Adaptogens helps our inner ecology - our organs and glands- strenthen and respond more comfortably to stresses. Here is a home guide, written by the herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, to learn more:

Whole Foods Diet- This is not a specialty trendy diet, it's just a way of eating to choose as much as possible of whole foods- vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, and clean sources of animal products. I see it as primarily avoiding processed commercial foods. It can take months or longer to develop better eating habits, but do it anyway. Avoiding excess sugar, excess alcohol, and moderating caffeine are very important in the process of achieving the goal of a higher level of Peace of Mind. Consumptions patterns in these areas should be re-evaluated.

Movement- Find what works for you, but move. Stretching seems to be particularly effective in helping the body release tension patterns which cause us to feel anxious and, well, tense. I find that incorporating stretching ABSOLUTELY relieves pain. That is probably why the more than 5,000 year old system of hatha yoga poses is basically..... stretches. (combined with strength and balance- I know). Incorporating 15 or 20 minutes a day of simple stretches, particularly some that target different areas of the body, such as shoulders, hips, feet, torso , arms and legs- is a guaranteed way to change how you feel inside and out. If you cannot learn from someone in your area, here is a resource to help:

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