Updated: May 22
At the beginning of March, we took a journey together where I introduced you to the Wellness Wheel and the different dimensions of wellness. You were also issued a challenge; see article here for a reminder. Last week we officially wrapped up the last of the dimensions of wellness. How are you feeling? Where do we go from here?
It can be difficult and unnerving to change the way we have always done things. I cannot recount the number of times I have been sitting across from my clients and the subject of "coping skills" comes up. Their eyes often glaze over or there is this audible sigh. They are tired of the "count to 10," "take deep breaths." "write in a journal," "eat healthy," and "exercise regularly," recommendations. I get it. Those things are often typical and unexciting. So for today's article, I will keep it short, sweet, and as atypical as possible.
"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice." (Proverbs 27:9, NIV)
Throughout history, incense has been used for various purposes; one of which is to relax. Depending on the particular fragrance, incense can often bring about feelings of peacefulness and calm. It can also be used to help you concentrate and be focused, boost creativity and motivation, and help you feel happier. Try this. Go to a store and see if they will allow you to sample the incense before you commit to buying. Once you have found your scent, go home and light the incense and sit quietly. Don't be distracted by your thoughts. Just breathe, focusing on the enjoyment of the scent. Visualize what the scent connects you to in nature. Does it smell like morning dew or fresh cut grass? Now think about the emotions it evokes. Does it make you feel calm or happy? Allow your mood to be boosted naturally by reflecting on these feelings.
Water tends to make us feel calmer. Unfortunately, some of us do not live nearby a body of water. However, we can still enjoy the calming effect of water in other ways. One activity you may try (other than taking a relaxing bath or relaxing shower) is to immerse your hands in water. Rather than sing the Happy Birthday song twice while urgently washing our hands, why not pause reflectively for a moment, just allowing the water to freely flow over our hands. Mindfully reflect on the texture of the water against your skin. Now the temperature of the water. Use this method as a quick "pick me up." Imagine any negative emotions or stress leaving your body through your hands and washing away with the water.
I remember being in an Ace Hardware store once and stumbling upon the windchime section. Taking my hands and swiping against the pipes, I was immediately drawn in by the soothing sound. I even found one set that had been especially designed to play the tune of "Amazing Grace." If you are able, get yourself a windchime and connect with the flow of the melody. As you listen to the chimes, you can create a visualization to let any negative emotions to flow away with the wind.
Create a Sand Jar
Find some multi-colored sand and a glass jar with a lid. Add sand to the jar one color at a time, taking care not to mix the colors together. As you build, think positive thoughts and/or affirm calm feelings or positive, warm actions. You may purposefully tell yourself that any time you look at this colored sand, you will feel positive and a sense of calm. Make your positive affirmation something simple and meaningful to you.
Put the Fan on Low
Thinking back to my childhood in the rural South, I can recall the days with nothing to do. When you have nothing to do, you find ways to entertain yourself. I remember sitting in the chair looking at the blades of the window fan. Other times, laying across my bed looking at the blades of the ceiling fan. In preparation for this article, I decided to give it a try. Through my adult lens, I definitely can still feel the calming effect of allowing my worries to melt away and just focusing on the motion of the fan blades. Why don't you give it a try to see how it works for you?
After a long day, why not try rewarding your palate with a nice cup of herbal tea? One of the most widely known teas touted for it's ability to promote relaxation is the famed chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is caffeine free and made from dried chamomile flowers. According to an article from Insider, "The plant extract contains apigenin, a chemical compound that induces sleepiness when it binds to the GABA receptors in the brain." There are of course other teas that may be helpful in helping create a sense of relaxation such as lavender, peppermint, oat flower, and lemon balm. Try different flavors until you find not only the tea that dances on your taste buds, but also helps induce that calm, relaxation after a long and stressful day.
Six is such an interesting number to end on, but again, that is a little out of the box for me (I love the numbers 3 and 7). I hope you found this list of coping skills/self-care skills/self-nurturing skills/stress management skills (hey whatever you want to call it) refreshing. Over the coming week, I hope you will commit to trying at least one of these out of the box ideas to help you embrace your emotional wellness. We'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to share in the comments below which method you will try. Do you know of any other calming, "out of the box" coping methods? Please tell us in the comments. And for my weekly reminder-wherever you are on this journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading.
"Some people feel the rain-others just get wet." ~Roger Miller
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