Managing your stress levels doesn’t have to include meditating or doing yoga, though I am a huge fan of both of these. Countless research studies show that just simply heading to the great outdoors can be enough to reduce cortisol, a glucocorticoid steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands and secreted during a stress response, thus relieving anxiety and stress.
Time out in the wild, in national parks, rainforests or anywhere where there are lots of plants and flowers, also known as ‘green space’ has been shown to reduce anxiety levels and bring down high cortisol levels. Studies show that when we spend time in green space, we experience a reduction in mental fatigue and physiological stress; children have been shown to be calmer and have better memory retention. The jury is out as to why exactly getting out into the wilderness helps us feeling more joyous and de-stresses us but researchers believe it probably includes a combination of the beneficial effects of improved air quality, increased physical activity, enhanced social contacts, and better quality of life.
Earthing describes the process where by electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth has been shown to produce a number of health benefits, including regulating concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response. Research shows potential benefits include improving functioning of the thyroid gland and the nervous system, improving the immune system and sleep as well as reducing morning fatigue. Pick a time of day to ‘earth’ e.g. after work, before work or at lunch time (or all three!). Take of your shoes and socks and place your feet on the ground (soil or sand) making contact with the earth. Relax x
Last but by no mean last…
Smelling flowers and their essential oils can have a profound physiological impact on the mind and body. Clary sage, orange, bergamot and rose essential oils have all been shown to decrease excessively high cortisol levels, thus normalising the stress response. Taking it one step further, inhaling clary sage has been found to have an anti-depressant action, thus uplifting mood.
Place a few drops on your shower floor and a few more on your pillow, particularly if you’re someone whose mind races as soon as their head hits their pillow.