After I wrote my Yoga & Meditation Make You Awesome at Life post I started to dig around my house for my go-to stress relief items. While I did go out and buy one new Yoga DVD (Yoga for Stress Relief and Flexibility) I had a lot of stuff on hand already that I'm going to try to incorporate into my new 'don't give yourself a nervous breakdown' plan. After trying the DVD once I was really impressed and it definitely helped work out some tension I always carry in my upper back that triggers TMJ flare-ups.
I had a few readers recommend some great online yoga websites. Check out this youtube channel for quick yoga sequences. It's a 30 day challenge so there are 30 videos ranging from 13-20 minutes. Jen also suggested yogaglo.com and yogadownload.com which are pay sites but you can get hundreds of yoga videos for the cost of one DVD.
As for books I had three that I immediately pulled off my shelf to re-read.
Breath by Breath. This book is great for someone who may already have a slight background in meditation (nothing sophisticated but it doesn't go over any basics of meditation.) The entire book focuses on breath, which may sound boring but it's amazing how much breathing can affect your emotions. Whenever I'm stressed/anxious I can always tell first physically because my breathing becomes very shallow. When I'm having a panic attack the only thing that can calm me down is breathing techniques. If you ever get short of breath from anxiety this is a must read.
Full Catastrophe Living. This is the FIRST book you should read if you are stressed, anxious, depressed, anything. I'm not exaggerating when I say this book changed my life. Clearly it wasn't a permanent change but I am SO excited to read it again. Just a few topics from the book: power of breathing, meditation basics & exercises, yoga, mindfulness, responding to stress versus reacting to it, and many different types of stress and how to deal with them.
How to Meditate. This book starts off with a few chapters discussing the very basics of what meditation is so it's perfect for beginners. The majority of the book gives tons of specific meditation exercises which I love. There are meditations on the mind, visualization meditations (the meditation on tara brought me to tears) and analytic meditations (like meditating on love or the impermanence of life.)
Finally, I love to rely on herbs and aromatherapy to help me chill the eff out sometimes (I've tried Bach's rescue remedy and it did nothing for me.)
Stress Relief Bath Salts - A warm bath is already a great way to relax but add in some aromatherapy bath salts and this is a great way to 'wind down' after a stressful day. I love this brand but you can always make your own for much cheaper (check out this tutorial I did on making your own bath salts.)
Stress Relief Lotion/Candles - my mom bought this stress relief candle from Bath & Body works (pictured as a lotion above) and she hated the smell and caused her stress. I loved it!
Kava Stress Relief Tea - this stuff is legit. I always have the craziest dreams when I drink this before bed but within minutes of drinking it my body feels more relaxed and it's way more than just a placebo effect. Make sure you research Kava before drinking it and check that it doesn't interact with any medical conditions/supplements you may be taking.
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What's in your stress relief toolkit? Ice cream? John Stamos?