Are you feeling stressed, curious, amused….or all three? Read on to learn strategies to relieve stress, satisfy your curiosity and experience the healing power of humor.
Tip 1 – Humor: A Light Touch for the Mind
The well-documented effects of stress, including elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar, are no laughing matter. Applying the light touch of humor, however, can shift perspective and bring a sense of spaciousness to tense situations.
Effective healing humor can be imagined as “mental acupressure.” Research has documented that the therapeutic effects of humor include defusing tension, stimulating the release of endorphins, and more.
Try this humorous meditation. It can be a powerful “screen-clearing” technique. Whether you’re in front of a screen or not, use this mantra to shift your response to any stressful situation.
- CTRL – Recognize what is within your control and what isn’t.
- ALT – Try an alternative to your usual stress response.
- DEL – Delete your sense of powerlessness and discover what works for you.
As you mentally push each button, exhale deeply, smile slightly and notice if your perspective has indeed shifted.
With that mindset reboot in place, let’s get right to the point. The acupressure point, that is.
Tip 2 – Jin Shin Jyutsu: A Light Touch on the Body
Documented for centuries and increasingly supported by research findings, acupuncture has demonstrated efficacy in treating various ailments.
Acupressure uses a similar approach to acupuncture. Instead of needles, acupressure applies finger pressure to the acupuncture points . Research supports acupressure as a safe, inexpensive means to address anxiety, pain, nausea, headaches and more. It is easy to learn and literally available at your fingertips.
The following technique is derived from a Japanese form of acupressure known as Jin Shin Jyutsu® (JSJ). JSJ is based on the same theoretical foundation common to many Asian healing traditions. It supports body, mind, and spirit through simple self-care techniques that “re-boot the system” and nurture health and wellbeing.
JSJ Finger Holds
These finger holds are associated with addressing “hardening of the attitudes” or feelings. In Asian traditions, different chronic emotional states have a significant effect on different energy pathways, known as meridians.
You may either select the finger associated with the emotional state you feel stuck in or choose a finger intuitively.
Notice any type of tension, pain, or emotions being held. Let this awareness guide you to:
- Hold any finger on either hand in a way that is comfortable for you.
- Lightly hold the finger, using mindful breathing as you exhale deeply and slowly by mouth at least three times.
- Drop your shoulders as you exhale. Lift the corners of your mouth as you inhale.
- How do you feel now compared to when you began?
Consider devoting 10 minutes in the morning to a “full-system security scan.” Hold each finger on both hands in succession while allowing three mindful breaths with each finger. It is also a calming way to end a day.
Tip 3 – Aromatherapy: A Light Touch for the Spirit
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of pure essential oils derived from plants. These oils are said to deliver medicinal benefits through the effects of their chemical constituents on the neuroendocrine system. Synthetic fragrance oils do not have the same effect.
Researchers have been examining the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy to address perception of pain, anxiety and more. The results are promising and encourage further research. For example, science has shown that lavender, one of the essential oils most commonly studied, can effectively calm and relax.
Nasal inhalers are a simple, portable, non-intrusive way to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. You can purchase scented inhalers or buy nasal inhaler blanks and add oils make your own.
Whether dealing with a pain in the neck, “hardening of the attitudes,” or sleepless nights, try these three tips. They can help you to meet whatever stresses life may bring with a light touch for body, mind and spirit.
Catherine Cerulli, M.Ed., is an integrative practitioner at UVM Medical Center. She teaches tips and techniques to mitigate the effects of stress for staff, patients and family caregivers. Catherine believes in, and shares, the healing power of wit and wisdom, tenderness and touch in her presentations.
Join Catherine on Thursday, May 24, 6 – 7:30 pm in the McClure Conference Room for more tips and techniques. “Get Your S.A.S. (Stress & Anxiety Solutions) On” registration is limited and required. This class is full. You may call 802-847-7222 to be placed on a waitlist.