Manage Your Stress Through Yoga

photo of yoga posture from the book Stress Express!Practiced for over 5000 years, yoga is a profound and popular form of exercise, with nearly 11 million Americans practicing it.  It’s taught around the world  in many different forms.  Recent studies at the University of NC Hospitals and Duke University show yoga reduces stress and also provide significant improvements for those with illnesses such as arthritis, back pain, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.   The Center for Integrative Medicine of Thomas Jefferson University found that a 1 hour session of yoga lowered cortisol in participants with no previous yoga experience, even seven days later.

The Benefits of Yoga

Whatever form of yoga you enjoy, there are enormous benefits to your body, mind and spirit.  Yoga:

• increases flexibility through stretching

• improves posture

• promotes better breathing

• massages all internal organs of body

• increases lubrication of tendons, joints, ligaments

• flushes toxins out of the body

• tones muscles

• provides a deep sense of relaxation

I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years and I find it makes a tremendous difference to my energy, flexibility and strength.  Try it as a new form of exercise and stress relief.

Stress Relief Through Scent

Lemon with lemon slice for cutting stress and keyboard mistakesDid you know just inhaling certain fragrances can relieve stress?  It’s true.  One of the most interesting findings when I was researching my new book Stress Express! was the impact of scent.  Fragrance is powerful.  Realtors know this well.  They often put drops of cinnamon oil on lightbulbs when showing a house, or bake cookies with cinnamon in them.  The scent of cinnamon is said to be the most  welcoming for many Americans because it reminds them of breakfast with grandparents and cinnamon toast.

Here are a few stress-relieving scents you may want to check out:

Lemon- Believe it or not, the scent of lemon in the workplace cuts keyboard mistakes by 50%  according to Valerie Wormwood.  Think of what a difference that could make with your work.

Vanilla soothes restless children.  It has a positive impact on the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, according to a study done at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A few drops on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing.

•  Peppermint extract on your forehead or temples can help relieve pain immediately.  It’s also great for concentration.  A Univ. of Cincinnati study found people who breathe in peppermint oil are immediately more alert. Children who eat a peppermint before tests score better. And athletes perform better.

Lavender calms irritability, soothes tension and promotes relaxation.  Many sleep products like scented pillowcases are sold because of lavender’s soothing properties.  You’ll often find it in hotels these days.

Try these fragrances in a variety of ways- scented candles, air fresheners, extracts, etc. to help relieve your stress and feel better fast.  You may just be surprised with the results.