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Failproof Ways To De-Stress That Don't Involve Sheet Masks

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April is Stress Awareness Month and if you've ever been stressed, know that it is totally normal and that there are ways to combat it. We spoke with MJ Renshaw, a certified Osteopath with her own practice, to learn about ways that we can stress less that go beyond sheet masks. She shares some scientifically proven ways to lower stress without spending a dime.

1. Get in a flow state

“Being in flow state means that you are so engrossed in an activity that you do not perceive time anymore. For some this can happen while painting or playing the piano and for others it can happen while running or exercising." 

2. Mammillary Diving Reflex

"The Mammillary Diving Reflex, which is a reflex humans developed when they used to live closer to the sea, happens in the body when a person holds their breath and has water on their face. When this happens this signals the body to slow the heart rate in order for the body to require less oxygen since it thinks we are diving underwater. Next time you feel super stressed get in a nice hot shower or bath and submerge your face and hold your breath for a few seconds. This will help create homeostasis in the heart rate and also in the nervous system which can help decrease your stress levels."

3. Focus on your breathing 

“Okay, I know this one is boring but I swear once you start using your breath it is life-changing! It will deliver more oxygen into your body and can even help with digestion. Lie down and take deep breaths. I like to do a square breath—inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and hold for four seconds.”

4. Ocular-Cardiac Reflex

"This is a super fast way to bring your heart beat down in a matter on seconds. True story: I used it one time when I saw my ex in a coffee shop and it actually helped me appear cool as a cucumber even though I was just screaming on the inside. Basically the muscles around your eyes are connected to the nerve that controls your heartbeat. This means that when you lightly press on your closed eyes or put a T-shirt over them it will signal to your heartbeat to slow down and make you super calm (like, appear like a nonchalant goddess to your ex calm)."

5. L-Theinine

"This is my favorite supplement right now. L-theinine is an amino found in tea leaves and it is the basically the La-Z-Boy couch of supplements. I take it whenever I have a stressful meeting, have to get on a plane, or when I just need to max chill. It works by boosting GABA which makes you feel calm and it also enhances alpha brain waves which is the state of “wakeful relaxation” which is really good for being creative.

6. Social Media Detox

 "I do not subscribe to the theory that social media is a negative thing, but it can certainly still add stress to our lives. Not only does the phone have blue light which messes up our circadian rhythm but it also has an electromagnetic field which we know now makes autoimmune disorder symptoms worse. A detox from your phone doesn't have to be forever, but try making a rule the one hour before bed and one hour after waking up you trade scrolling for something else? Swap in trying to journal or meditate instead, it’s life-changing."

7. Don’t forget to laugh! 

"There’s a reason we’ve all re-watched The Office three times—it makes you laugh and laughing makes you feel good! It releases endorphins, which boost your mood, lower stress, and can even reduce emotional and physical pain. If you’ve never watched a “dog vines” video on YouTube, take this as a sign to do that now."

Practice this recipe for relaxation in our new Stress Less collection, available now, and follow MJ Renshaw on Instagram.

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