Macleay’s Advertising Lecturer Nicole Shows Us 3 Steps To De-Stress The Mind
1. Using scent to help reduce stress and anxiety
- Peppermint – Helps to keep you alert and great if you need a pick me up and feel overworked. Helps digestion too to calm to gut.
- Rosemary – reduces cortisol levels, so good for de-stressing when you have an assignment due and don’t want to fall asleep yet
- Lavender – Improves cognition and mood by working on the Limbic system (part of brain that controls moods). Mild sedative and calming. Useful for when trying to get to sleep after a stressful day
- Citrus such as lemon, orange and bergamot – Anti-depressant effects and uplifting
- Chamomile – good tea for general anxiety
2. Using texture and light to sooth your mood
- Jelly and slime – Watching ASMR videos or making your own slime gives a tingling feeling which can help you relax.
- Rice filled socks – Great sensory tool to make you feel comforted. Fill some long sports socks with rice and rest over your neck or shoulders. The weight of them has been proven to relax children and those with sensory delays.
- Make a tent – Kids are onto something, sheet over some dining chairs, some fairy lights and a fluffy blanket will help you feel safe and comforted. A popular technique used in autism treatment and can help you re-connect with your vestibular and proprioception senses to literally ‘calm and ground you’.
- Light – We know blue light is bad for us, but why? It penetrates all the way to the retina and fools the brain to think it is daytime. Result…exhaustion and no time to re-charge.
- Wake up at the same time – Even if you binge watch Netflix, try wake up at the same time every-day. It helps your body regulate and will improve the mood.
3. Trick your mind to feel better
- Tell yourself stories – Proven method in behavioural economics shows we remember stories better than lists. Can’t focus on studying? Draw the information along a road and pretend it is a story or better use mind-maps or cartoons to remember facts. You won’t forget crucial information.
- Write it down – We are terrible at short term memory. Write it down and keep your note book in the same spot so you alleviate the stress of remembering.
- Have a mirror image date – We feel the same emotions if we do something ourselves or if we watch someone else do it. That is why we cry in movies, or feel elation when our team scores a goal. So have a cook off, fashion show, teach a new hobby with friends or family on zoom. Watching others do things you enjoy will help you feel like yourself.
- Bite on a pencil and watch a comedy –If your face is forced into a smile e.g. with a pencil between your teeth, jokes and movies will feel funnier. So sure the neighbours will give you a funny look, but you will be laughing ;)
- Memories of regret are more powerful – We feel stronger emotions when we think negatively. Going down a social media rabbit hole? Turn it off and take break to do something that raises endorphins such as exercise.
- Frame your mind – We are drawn to optimism. 90% Fat free, sounds much better than 10% fat. So if you have items on your to do list you hate frame them in a positive light e.g. 60% of the assignment done vs. I’m only halfway through and give yourself little rewards for every 15min of work. Steve Jobs divided his day into minute slots and he seemed to do ok.
- Change your environment – We are strongly influenced by our environment and those around us. This is why ‘experts’ wear lab coats and interview rooms at police stations are dark, cold and intimidating. So, if you can, put up some pictures of past fun events or of things you like. Sit in rooms with natural light or change your lightbulb to be softer, rose lighting. Multiple sources of light vs. one light over your bed also creates a sense of space and soothes the mood. Sleep in white sheets or natural tones (pinks/browns) which have shown to relax us, pick some flowers for your room/buy a succulent, paint your room blue which helps reduce anxiety, de-clutter A LOT (about 50% of your space should be empty ‘white space’) and cover up technology or put your phone in another room when you are sleeping.
- Put your hands in some soil – Touching soil increases serotonin levels which is a happy chemical and helps the immune system. Touching real wood (not from IKEA) is known to relax humans as well and help you study.
- Listen to heavy metal and SING – Head bang and listen to some heavy metal. It has been suggested those that listen to it are happier. While Jazz is also a great stress reliever as is calms the heart-beat. Just do not listen to Country or Love Songs. Singing loudly can also help relive stress and reduces that choking feeling if you are in a panic.
- Raise your eyebrows and widen your eyes – It is suggested this technique to ‘broaden your perspective’ will help you think more creatively.
- Act in-front of the mirror - Mirror imaging your own mood. Act silly in front of a mirror and you will feel better.
- Prime yourself to think better - Popular creative thinking technique. Print a selection of random words on cards or random images. Play pickup and try to create stories with 2 or more random words. This primes you to think more creatively.
- Be uncomfortable - Read a book on Quantum Physics, watch a tutorial on how to paint, challenge yourself to begin to learn to speak another language. Opening up new neural pathways will help with your studies at Macleay and might even launch a new passion for you.