Health

Top tips to beat the blues

Top tips to beat the blues

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Banish stress, beat the blues and re-energise with these mood-boosting techniques.

Think like an astronaut

Along with elite athletes, policemen and airline pilots, astronauts are taught autogenic training as part of their space-training programs.

Developed by a German doctor, Johannes Schultz, in the 1920s, this technique has been scientifically proven to relieve tension, lessen anxiety, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and even improve communication, decision-making, business and sporting skills.

Autogenic training teaches you to focus your attention inwards through mental exercises that are designed to switch off the body’s “fight or flight” stress mechanism and let you deal with traumas and challenges calmly.

Typically, people report feeling that they are in control of their lives, rather than feeling that life is controlling them. Find a qualified teacher at www.autogenics.com.au.

Float away

Lying in darkness and silence in very salty water is one of the best ways to beat stress. Flotation therapy was developed in the 1950s by a neurophysiologist, Dr John Lilly. He was intrigued by what happened to the brain and body when external stimuli were removed, and experimented with the soundproof chambers used to train navy divers.

He found that floating caused blood pressure and heart rate to fall and stimulated the body to produce endorphins, natural painkillers. Flotation has been used in the treatment of psychological disorders, including addiction and phobias.

Artists and musicians have claimed it leads to increased creativity and problem-solving ability. Type “float tank” into an internet search engine to find a centre near you.

Try brain yoga

Mindfulness is the brainchild of Jon Kabat-Zinn, a scientist and stress reduction expert. He felt sure that the answer to many chronic physical conditions lay in teaching his patients how to activate their inner healing ability.

Drawing on Buddhist and yogic practices, he developed this form of meditation, which, at its most basic level, teaches you how to stop and become aware of the moment, and to practise being kind to yourself.

It sounds simple, but it’s not always easy — and it’s extraordinarily effective, helping to provide you with greater certainty, self-confidence, and self-acceptance.

It’s incredible how much stress we create for ourselves by disliking, blaming and criticising ourselves. Find a class at www.mindfulnesscentre.com.

Pick a flower

Rescue remedy, a mixture of Bach flower essences, is a wonderful stress fix. If you feel tense or panicked, place a few drops under the tongue, or add it to a glass of water and sip regularly.

Other Bach flower remedies for stress include Aspen (for fear and anxiety), hornbeam (for fatigue), white chestnut (for “monkey mind”, where your thoughts are constantly swirling in your head), vervain (for people who push themselves too much) and pine (for feelings of guilt and inadequacy).

Shake things up

When you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, take time out and hide somewhere private, like your bedroom or a bathroom at work. Now, “shake” the tension out of your body — loosely shake every limb, every bit of your body, and feel it wobble.

Visualise the bad feelings being tumbled out of you, onto the floor. If you feel like you could scream, go ahead and do so. One of the greatest releases is car screaming — roll up the windows and let it all out. Or, bury your face in a pillow and howl. Kicking a cardboard box around the room until it is in shreds is also excellent.

Your say: How do you de-stress?

Video: Stress relief through meditation

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