With how stressful these past few months have been, it is becoming increasingly necessary for us to engage in activities that can help boost the mind and, at the same time, relieve stress. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways this can be done.
For instance, certain Healthy Movements and Exercise can help keep you mentally satisfied. These include aerobic exercises, cycling, dancing to music, swimming, and walking. Aside from exercise, other practises like journaling, colouring, taking long bubble baths, and practising kind self-talk can also help induce relaxation.
But different areas of the world have their own ways of doing things, and in this article, we’ll take a look into how the Indians, Japanese, and Native American tribes alleviate the stresses of everyday life.
India’s laughter yoga
Indians are strong believers of the adage ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and perhaps this is the reason why they have laughter yoga. This practice, also known as hasya yoga, is a modern exercise that involves prolonged voluntary laughter. Laughter yoga is anchored on the belief that laughter (voluntary or spontaneous) can present different health benefits.
Mental Floss’ list of scientific benefits associated with laughter includes lowered blood pressure, a boosted immune system, and reduced symptoms of anxiety and other negative emotions. Pain relief and improved cardiovascular health are also other advantages of laughing.
To reap the positive effects of laughing, Best Fit Magazine explains that this relaxing activity is often performed in groups for 30 minutes, at most.
Japan’s onsen culture
To escape the hustle and bustle of city life, along with the stresses that it brings, Japanese people usually spend a night or two in nearby onsens or hot springs. In ExpatBets’ guide to the best onsens in Japan, it is detailed how this tradition is often practised as a way of relaxing the mind and the body.
And true enough, Tokyo City University professor Hayasaka Shin’ya explains that soaking in hot springs can help relax the body by alleviating pain. He further notes how this popular Japanese activity can also improve the symptoms of backache, stiff shoulders, and other chronic aches and pains.
Aside from helping manage pain, the short trip to the nearest hot spring can also induce calm and ensure a good night’s sleep, especially if taken two to three hours before bedtime.
Native American’s ritual of smudging
Smudging, or burning herbs, is a long-standing practise that has been in existence since time immemorial. This ancient practice is making quite the comeback as of recent because of the possible health benefits it can offer.
Healthline’s article on the effects of burning sage emphasises how this activity can purify your surroundings, relieve the symptoms of some health conditions, boost cognition and heighten energy levels. Depending on the kinds of herbs that were burned, smudging can also soothe stress, improve the quality of your sleep and raise your overall mood.
Since smudging is a highly sacred practice among Native Americans, it would be best to take the time to learn it in its entirety. It would also be a good idea to buy sage from local and Native American growers, instead of brands that know little to nothing about the history of smudging.
Participating in a session of laughter yoga, soaking in hot springs and smudging are only some of the ways people from all over the globe manage stress and induce relaxation.