A growing number of studies find that proximity to plants and green space improves mental health and a sense of well being.
Here are 5 ways to incorporate nature into your busy life.
1. Bring plants that make you feel centred and peaceful into your work space.
2. Take breaks throughout your day to visually connect with the outdoors even if it is a quick walk around the block or eating your lunch outside when the weather permits.
3. Stop by a park on the way home and have a stroll taking in the sights and sounds.
4. If you have a choice to have an office with a window look for a view of anything green.
5. Find a CD with birds, waves or other nature sounds to play for yourself and find a fragrance that reminds you of the outdoors.
Have you ever experienced a stressful situation that left your heart pounding and your body tense? Did the effects linger for a long while after? Or have you been going through an especially challenging emotional time and feel like you are constantly tense and uncomfortable? The solution can start with something as simple as a smile.
Researchers at the University of Kansas Department of Psychology have discovered that simply smiling a big wide smile actually reduces the body’s reaction to stress compared to a group that was exposed to stressful stimuli and held a neutral expression.
Even if you don’t feel like smiling give it a shot and see how you feel the next time you are faced with something uncomfortable.
Since our mind and body are connected what we eat or drink can impact how we feel. If you know anyone who suffers with anxiety please share my top five food/drinks to avoid.
1. Coffee. Caffeine is a drug called a sympathomimetic which means it mimics the effect of the sympathetic nervous system which feels like the fight or flight response. Many clients describe the feelings as a “panic attack”.
2. Tea. Tea has a similar composition with the active ingredient called Theophylline while a bit milder still can trigger similar effects as caffeine.
3. Milk Chocolate or Dark. Chocolate contains caffeine and can contribute to anxious panicky feelings.
4. Sugar. Sugar quickly spikes your blood sugar level and can cause you tell feel agitated, tense and out of your body and also can feel similar to some people as anxiety.
5. Energy drinks. Energy drinks are filled with caffeine and sugar and give you a double whammy.
If you have been feeling panicky, tense or anxious and eat or drink anything listed above try removing them from your diet and see how you feel.
It is well known to those who study the effects of stress that the physical environment you work and live in plays a big role in your stress level. Overcrowding, noise and temperature are contributing factors to your increased stress level.
Researchers have been exploring the link between sound and the effects on stress in hospital workers. Nurses have been primarily targeted in this research.
Imagine all of the noises that both patients and hospital employees are exposed to on a regular basis; gurneys, codes, PA messaging, sirens, call buttons, crying and screaming taking place at all hours.
These factors contribute to discomfort and a build up of tension which can effect mood, focus, job satisfaction and overall health.
In the workplace you might not be able to control or change the situation that you are in but you do have a choice over how you handle factors that feel out of your control.
Find a quiet spot to decompress on your break even if you put in earplugs or earphones that neutralize noise.
Breathe and release tension you are holding onto throughout your shift so it never has a chance to build up and create problems for you.
Treat yourself to something soothing when work is over like a warm bath, a quiet walk or a massage.
Realize that you have a choice over how the environmental conditions effect you.