Finding Peace in a Busy World
Today’s culture pushes us to always be and show the best version of ourselves, unfortunately, that has led to a social phenomenon and highest levels of stress reported in America which causes damage that is often underestimated.
The stress we experience every day is essentially caused by several phenomena that are inherent to today’s society, including, among other:
- Intensified workload to increase productivity gains
- Constant search for perfection
- Obsession with competition
- Difficulty balancing work, personal life and family life
- Major changes in values and social standards
Stress affects all social groups and at all ages- no one is immune to it. However, some people are more deeply affected by its consequences, depending on their personal, psychological, professional and health background.
When dealing with stress or stressful situations, the human body reacts by releasing various hormones, including adrenaline. In the first state, stress can show itself short term as palpitations, lump in the throat, anxiety, distress, etc. After a long period of time, symptoms can be of a physical, psychological or behavioral nature. For example:
- Sleep disorders
- Muscular tension
- digestive problems
- Increased isolation
- Relationship problems
- Work absenteeism
- Lower performance
- Loss of self esteem
In addition to physical effects, stress contributes to the development of several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, vascular disease and cancer.
Here we share tips and our favorite rituals to find peace and rest in a constantly moving and engaging world.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Mediation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. Today, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction. Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil state of mind.
When you meditate, you may clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress. The emotional benefits of meditation can include:
- Gaining new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present moment
- Reducing negative emotions
- Increasing imagination and creativity
- Increasing patience and tolerance
Rest Without Electronics
People now more than ever are constantly connecting, watching, and engaging with the world through screens. Adults are reported to spend upwards of six hours a day on screen time, and teens around seven hours a day. Electronic back-lit devices like cell phones, tablets, readers, and computers emit short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light. Fluorescent and LED lights also emit blue light, which has been shown to reduce or delay the natural production of melatonin in the evening and decrease feelings of sleepiness. Blue light can also reduce the amount of time you spend in slow-wave and rapid-eye movement sleep, two stages of the sleep cycle that are vital for cognitive function.
Our bodies run on a circadian rhythm, which is a biological process that takes place over a 24-hour period and controls when we feel awake and we feel sleepy. Circadian rhythm is based primarily on the rise and fall of the sun. Another part of our brain uses environmental cues such as light to know when it is time to initiate sleep. The blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm. This make it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day. The circadian rhythm seems to be especially sensitive to blue light since it has a short wavelength.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Putting your phone in a different room away from your sleeping area like in the kitchen or bathroom will help discourage you from checking it during the night. Other ways to help you rest better:
- Create a screen-free bedtime ritual: Even if you are unable to completely eliminate the use of technology in the evenings, setting a relaxing ritual without electronics can signal to your body that it is time to rest.
- Dim your lights: Screens aren’t the only objects that emit blue light. Fluorescent and LED bulbs can also emit some levels of blue light and interfere with a proper night of rest. Switching to dim lights in the evening can help prepare your body for rest.
- Use Nighttime Mode: Many devices have a night setting that dims the screen and reduces the amount of blue light that is emitted.
- Consider Investing in Blue Light glasses: Blue light-blocking glasses are eyeglasses designed using special coatings to filter out blue lights. These glasses can help reduce some of the effects blue light can have on vision and sleep cycles.
Gratitude / Mindfulness
The regular plastic of expressing gratitude has been proven by neuroscientists to rewire your brain to be happier and healthier.
Psychologists Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami published a study in 2015 that looked at the physical outcomes of practicing gratitude. One third of the subjects in the study were asked to keep a daily journal of things that happened during the week for which they were grateful. Another third was asked to write down daily irritations or events that had displeased them. The last third of the group was asked to write down daily situations and events with no emphasis on either positive or negative emotional attachment. At the end of the 10-week study, each group was asked to record how they felt physically and generally about life. The gratitude group reported feeling more optimistic and positive about their lives than the other groups. In addition, the gratitude group was more physically active and reported fewer visits to a doctor than those who wrote only about their negative experiences.
In times of hardship or stress it might seem difficult to be grateful but if you think about it, we all have something to be grateful for. Here are some ways to express gratitude to yourself:
- Learn to let go of things over which you have no control over.
- Think of the glass as half-full and not half-empty.
- Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for. The best times for writing in your journal are in the morning as you are beginning your day or at night before going to bed. Try implementing a daily ritual.
We now live in a time with endless information at our fingertips. Whether it’s through our phones or TVs, it’s impossible to get through the day without absorbing it in some form. However, it’s important to be mindful about what information you take in and how it makes you feel. Whenever you take in too much information at one time, you may feel like nothing really sticks. For example, if you read a book whilst listening to music, you may have to read the same two or three times. Too much information can be overwhelming and affect your productivity. So, limit what you absorb, and spend time away from the devices that prevent your brain from switching off for a minute.
Start with setting time limits for your devices, applications, and social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to 3 hours a day, only during work hours. Use the device free time to focus on yourself and your thoughts by journaling.
Be Prepared the Night Before
There’s nothing more stressful in the morning when you’re late, you can’t find anything to wear, can’t find the keys, and you feel like you have to rush or are forgetting something causing you to start your day off stressfully. Spending less than 10 minutes getting things organized the night before can save you time and a lot of stress the next morning.
To get prepared the night before, set up a time when you will have around 15-20 minutes before bedtime to organize the things you need to take on the world in the morning: fill your tea kettle with water, check the weather and pick your outfit, find your keys, and put everything you need in your bag. You can incorporate it into a ritual so that it can become second nature and help you unwind as well.
Rest & Relaxation Rituals for Anytime of the Day
When you wake up, turn off the alarm and open your blinds to let the sun in. Leave your phone behind.
- Begin with mindful appreciation, reflect on one thing you are happily anticipating in your day, even if it is hopping back into bed at the end of it.
- Drink water and boil some water to make tea.
- While you wait for the water to boil, take the time to take a deep breath and stretch your body. Do your favorite yoga poses or simply try to stretch your arms upwards as much as you can.
- Once the water boils, pour 12oz over the Royal Chrysanthemum Flower Tea and let steep for 3 minutes. Use the time to close your eyes, take deep breaths, and set your intentions for the day like “Today will be a good day.”
- Once your tea is ready, seep it mindfully and use this time to connect with nature. Don’t forget that after the first steep, you can refill with hot water 2 more times so you can choose how long your morning ritual is.
If you find yourself getting stressed during the day, find 10 minutes to step away from screens and unwind or refocus with a cup of tea and these simple three steps.
- While you wait for water to boil, use this time to take a breath and analyze what things in your day cause stress.
- Once the water boils, pour 12oz over the Blue Lotus Flower Tea and let steep for 3 minutes. Use this time to set your intentions again and do affirmations like “I will enjoy the rest of my day.”
- Once your tea is ready, seep it mindfully and think about the things you have enjoyed so far that day. Think only positive thoughts and don’t forget that after the first steep, you can refill with hot water 2 more times so you can choose how long your afternoon ritual is.
Setting a ritual before bedtime is beneficial to have a more restful sleep and night.
- Start by shutting off all screens and electronic devices. Put them in another room or silence them.
- Boil some water for your nighttime tea ritual. While you wait for your water to boil, prepare yourself for the next day by choosing your outfit and putting everything you need in your bag.
- Once the water boils, pour 12oz over the Shangri-La Rose Flower Tea and let steep for 3 minutes. Use this time to set your nighttime intentions, maybe think about what type of dreams you want to have tonight.
- Once your tea is ready, seep it mindfully and journal about your day, write down the things that made you feel grateful and write the moments where you faced stress and you handled it. Write anything you want and makes you feel grounded. Try to keep your reflections positive and don’t forget that after the first steep, you can refill with hot water 2 more times so you can choose how long your afternoon ritual is.
- Have sweet dreams!