Stress Relief Techniques: RX From Mother Nature
Grow the 5 Best Indoor Plants for Air Purification and Practice Japanese Forest Bathing Outside
No doubt about it, stress is a normal part of life. But there’s good news: stress can be managed in the most basic of ways with a helping hand from Mother Nature. A growing trend for stress relief and wellness is to integrate nature into our everyday lives, both indoors and out. How? By creating what experts call a “culture of wellness,” using stress relief techniques from Mother Nature.
I was surprised to learn that 90 percent of our time is spent indoors, at home and the workplace. Both rank high for indoor pollutants which can lead to health issues and stress. Houseplants can play a big role in simple stress relief techniques. The best houseplants for clean air absorb particulates from the air, making it cleaner and easier to breathe.
Don’t worry if you have a brown thumb. Indoor plants for air purification are easy to grow. About the only way you can kill them is to over water. Use them as focal points for beauty and health. The simple act of watching a plant flourish helps calm nerves and lift spirits. New growth brings hope; flowers bring smiles.
Aloe Vera: The Burn Plant
This is my go-to plant for burns and cuts. NASA scientists put aloe vera on the list of air purifying plants when they were researching houseplants to cleanse the air in space stations. Aloe vera releases oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide at night, so it’s a good specimen for the bedroom. Aloe vera does well in both low and bright light conditions.
Peace Lily: Mood Lifter
Gaze at the lily in flower and you’ll feel less stressed. It’s one of the best plants for removing formaldehyde, benzene and other chemicals in cleaning products. If you don’t use green cleaners in your home or at work, this is the plant for you. It thrives under fairly bright or lower light conditions.
Snake Plant: Iron Lady
Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue (I can imagine how it got that nickname!), snake plant is seen in workplace foyers because it’s hardy and an effective air purifier. Put one in the bathroom. It filters out formaldehyde, common in personal care products as well as cleansers. Snake plant tolerates low light.
Spider Plant: Teacher’s Pet
The mother plant sends out shoots with flowers that become baby spider plants, which are fun to share. Along with removing formaldehyde, spider plant removes xylene, a chemical found in floor polish, markers and paint. A favorite workplace plant of teachers. It grows nicely in a bright or indirect light.
Golden Pothos: The Survivor
My mom gave me a golden pothos when I moved away from home. It has thrived these many years under both adverse and ideal conditions. Another powerful enemy of formaldehyde. Hang one in the kitchen window and garage. (Car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde). This cascading plant stays green even in the lowest of light but thrives in bright, indirect light.
Keep pothos away from small children and pets, as leaves are poisonous.
Forest Bathing: Stress Relief Techniques from Japan
Have you heard of forest bathing? It’s considered to be one of the best stress relief techniques to hit the United States. Developed in Japan in the eighties, the folks in Japan feel forest bathing is essential for preventive health care and natural healing. Forest bathing today is what yoga was three decades ago. So just what is it? Forest bathing, the practice of shinrin yoku, is simply spending time in nature to reduce stress and promote well-being. It lets nature enter the body through all five senses. My son, Jason, attested to this after a business trip to Japan. “There were pockets of serenity even in the cities,” he told me. For me, forest bathing is a serene walk in the woods, meandering off the beaten path to explore.
A walk in a shaded forest or footpath with trees provides shade that acts as nature’s sunscreen. Trees also reduce harmful effects of UV rays. When you walk in a tree-lined landscape, you’ll experience “soundscape.” The rustling leaves and the chortling of birds decrease stress levels and put you in tune with nature.
Stress Reducing Hues
Whether you’re freshening up your decor indoors or out, a Japanese inspired stress-reducing color palette is just the ticket. It’s all about the many hues of greens and blue greens.
Garden Therapy in Small Spaces
Garden therapy is on the radar, as well. You don’t need a plow and the lower 40 to plant a garden that offers both exercise and solace. Ron Wilson, a garden expert and host of a weekly national gardening show, has been an advocate of container gardening for years. He told me container gardening continues to be popular with all ages, from toddlers to millennials to seniors. Planting herbs in pots is fun and the process itself is rewarding since you control the environment for optimum growth. Some of these herbs have distinct health benefits. Rosemary improves memory and reduces headache pain. Sniff a few sprigs of calming lavender for herbal stress relief. Steep basil leaves in hot water, let cool to warm temperature, and splash on your face, avoiding the eye area. Basil removes environmental toxins from the skin and harmonizes the spirit.
I like to put potted herbs throughout my herb garden. They will be just as happy on a back door stoop or interspersed with flowers in window boxes. Bees and butterflies love herbs, so you’ll find your outdoor space populated by Mother Nature’s friends.
One of my favorite places is in my herb garden, where herbal stress relief is just a few sprigs away. The only sounds I hear are natural: the wind blowing gently through the Norfolk pines, the buzzing bees, the fluttering butterflies landing gracefully on the flowers, and the singing of native birds.
By using Mother Nature’s stress relief techniques, small changes made in your indoor and outdoor environment will blossom into a healthier, happier, less-stressed you!
What are your natural stress relief techniques? Let us know in the comments below.