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Music Soothes the Soul


Dozens of studies from leading institutions like Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, in Yonkers, New York, and Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, show that music can offset stress, relieve pain, lower blood pressure, improve immune function and support restful sleep. So play a tune or two of much-loved music and let the calming effects induce a state of relaxation. According to research from the American Society of Hypertension, classi- cal music, the blues and other soothing music work best because they cause the body to release endorphins and slow breathing rates. It’s better yet if our favorite music inspires stress-releasing body movement.


Source: GreenMedInfo.com


happy memories are fragrant jasmine and gardenia trees, lavender and basil, all reminders of happy times in her life. She recalls, “It wasn’t until I was fin- ished that I realized what I had done.” A review of relevant science


reported in Neural Plasticity explains that the brain’s hippocampus region, a seat of memory, especially related to place, also normally regulates the production of cortisol. But an excess of cortisol due to stress can impair its memory functions. “When we are in a place that brings happy memories to mind, we let go of stress and stop the release of cortisol,” says Sternberg. “It helps to just think of a place where we have been happy.”


She recommends creating a home space with some plants on a window- sill, photos of happy family gatherings, fabrics or paint in beloved colors and perhaps inherited items that trigger fond memories.


Kathleen Barnes is the author of nu- merous natural health books, including 10 Best Ways to Manage Stress. Con- nect at KathleenBarnes.com.


Breathe Deeply Perform this subtle de-stressor while


in line at the market or driving. It slows heart rate, oxygenates the body, improves mental clarity and has a relaxing effect on the nervous system.


n Sit or stand straight.


n Put the tip of the tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind the upper front teeth, and keep it there throughout the entire exercise.


n Inhale through the nose for a count of four.


n Hold each breath for a count of seven.


n Exhale completely through the mouth with a whoosh sound for a count of eight.


n Repeat three more times. Source: DrWeil.com


natural awakenings February 2014 21


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