• Relax! We are all seeking those elusive, quiet, peaceful moments. But how can we create that serene environment in daily life? Meditation is one tool we can certainly use to unwind and relax, but what else is available and how do they compare?

    Let’s see how we can bring heaven to earth in just a few short moves!

  • 1. Get Moving

    One of the first things I ask any new client is what physical activities do they participate in. It doesn’t matter whether it's walking or billiards, or even sex! What matters is that we’re doing some.

    Physical exercise has been proven to increase mental well-being and be helpful in severe cases of depression and anxiety (Phillips, 2017); a lack of physical activity is also established as a major cause of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases (Booth, 2012).

    As I say, all forms of physical activity, from yoga to running, can dramatically improve the quality of our lives! To boost your active time play it smart: walk or cycle to short distance destinations, take the stairs instead of the lift, play hide and seek with your children.

    And for an extra boost: go on a walk meditation and enjoy the benefits of both activities!

    2. It’s Massage Time

    Personally, a massage is one of my go to therapies. But there’s science behind it too.

    Massage is one of the most effective and widely used alternative therapies and although most massage therapy sessions are for pain, recent research suggests that massage is effective for other conditions including growth of premature infants, ADHD, depression, and immune conditions (Field, 2014). Choose from the huge variety of massages: Thai, hot stones, aromatherapy, shiatsu, reflexology, the list goes om. But the truly relevant aspect of having a massage doesn’t change - choose what works best for you.

    Certainly, massage is a perfect de-stress technique for when we feel lazy and need some pampering. How about trying to bring mindfulness into your next massage session and use it as a body scan. But don’t feel bad if you doze off!

  • 3. Rock & Roll, Baby

    Music and sound are the very first human medicine, used by healers and shamans to cure sickness and reinvigorate the spirit. Again, anyone who knows me, knows I’m a huge fan of music in general – rock concerts to opera, but maybe you’re less familiar with the 2 gongs I use at home for sound healing!

    Music can evocate pleasant or painful memories that may connect us with a specific situation and, certainly, lead to a status of true relaxation. Science demonstrates that music therapy is highly effective in case of depression (Aalbers et al., 2017), schizophrenia (Geretsegger et al, 2017) and drug abuse (Hohmann et al., 2017). Different frequencies can promote focus, relaxation or ability to retain information.

    Want to create the perfect environment for some hard-core relaxation? Set up a quiet space, put on some relaxing tunes, light a candle and listen to your breath. For sure yo;ll be relaxed in no time. And this deep relaxation will bring you to a deeper level of unconscious and subconscious consciousness. Again, a great combination of music and meditation!

    4. Hang with Your Tribe

    As Aristotle said, ‘Man is by nature a social animal’. From an early stage we seek affinity and community with certain types of people. We like to recognize ourselves in others and embrace the harmonies and differences. We all have busy lives and sometimes don’t make time to be socially active. But here’s a scientific reason why you should get off your phone and have a night out with your friends: a study conducted in the early 2000s demonstrates that people with strong social ties have a 50% better chance of living a longer and happier life (Giles et al., 2005).

    Spending time with your friends will loosen up your tensions and you will feel immediately less stressed. Plus having a good laugh is truly therapeutic (Hasan and Hasan, 2009)!

    Want to take it a step further? Attend a meditation class or even create one! Feeling the supportive energy of people around you, especially if they are your friends, instantly makes you feel better. And in fact, as I write, I’m heading off tomorrow to a group meditation day!

  • 5. Find Yourself in Nature

    Nature is not only our natural environment; it’s also what we’re made of. In our industrialised cities it’s easy to forget we are as much a part of nature as the trees, birds and flowers. Even if we wear clothes, drive cars and surround ourselves with technology.

    And the Science of Nature (see what I did there?!) is super powerful! Evidence says that spending time in nature reduces stress (Ward Thomson et al., 2016), lowers blood pressure (Shanahan et al., 2016), promotes better sleep (Morita et al., 2011), reduces anxiety and depression (Beyer et al., 2014) and leads to greater happiness, well-being and life satisfaction (Larson et al., 2016).

    Go for a walk - even if it’s cold, even if it’s raining, enjoy the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin, smell all the flowers!

    How might we make our natural experience even nicer? Go to the beach or on a secluded space early in the morning, ideally before dawn, sit and meditate as the sun goes up. Feel the nature, be nature. This is truly my favourite way to start the day!

    Now that you have 5 more tools to play with, boost your well-being even higher and collect the fruit of such a wonderful experience! 

    Have a powerful, positive and peaceful day,