Relaxation Techniques You're Never Heard Of
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Singing Meditation2 of 10
Some yoga classes now include singing as a way to clear away tension. "Making sounds can move energy through your body in a primal way," says yoga guru Shiva Rea. "Singing mantras can put you back in touch with your soul, reconnect you with life, and help you rise above stress."
Terrarium Building3 of 10
Trendy garden shops are teaching overwhelmed clients to build floral ecosystems—often with miniature rocks, castles and the occasional gnome—in ceramic bowls or open glass cookie jars. "A terrarium is like having a little park of your own that you can visit at any time of day or night," says Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Sara Kenney. "Creating and nurturing something and working with your hands is a great way to get out of your head."
Face Massage4 of 10
Luxury spas are catching on to the fact that a facial massage not only makes you look better, but can also make you feel better. Pasadena-based acupuncturist Dr. Paulette Saddler, who works with Langham Huntington Hotel, suggests a simple acupressure move to relief stress: "Using your index finger, press in between your eyebrows and hold for 10 seconds."
Laughing Clubs5 of 10
We've all heard the old cliché that laughter is the best medicine. Well, now it's scientifically proven: Research has shown that laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and boosts immune functions. Today Americans are yucking it up en masse in Laughter Clubs (check out Laughing-Club.com for your local group). "Laughter releases tension and calls up positive associations to fun and happy experiences," says Kenney.
Drum Circles6 of 10
Weekend percussion groups are springing up in parks and on beaches all over the country—and with good reason. Not only does pounding the skins release tension, but the movement also gets your blood circulating. Plus, spending time in nature reduces stress, says Kenney.
Chicken TV7 of 10
More and more city dwellers are setting up coops and caring for hens and roosters in their own backyards, and not just for the fresh-from-the-nest eggs. "Try spending a weekend afternoon sitting in your garden, drinking a glass of wine and watching Chicken TV," says Mike Scott of Eagle Rock Backyard Farms, a fast-growing company that builds urban coops. "The hens' antics are crazy—they're more fun than watching Dancing With the Stars."
Breath-Work Meditation8 of 10
When we stress out, our breathing becomes shallow and short, allowing less oxygen into our system. The latest meditation classes, such as Crunch Fitness's Breathwork Meditation, focus on teaching students to develop deep-breathing techniques, igniting energy, clearing the head and releasing negative feelings.
Sound Therapy9 of 10
Luxury rubdowns in cutting-edge spas now include sound therapy. While you have your Swedish massage, you'll also be treated to a symphony of soothing sounds—chants, Tibetan singing bells, fountains or ocean waves—that therapists now believe is deeply soothing and healing. "Sound therapy can take us deep into the subconscious, reorganizing the brain for greater rest and connection to old, pure traditions," says Rea.
Haiku Writing10 of 10
Short on time? Sneak away from your desk for five minutes and escape into a nearby park with a notepad and pen. Take in the trees, squirrels, birds and sky, and pen a haiku: Just follow the classic five syllables (first line), seven syllables (second line), five syllables (last line) format. "Playing with words and syllables is an excellent way to get your mind off worries," says Kenney, "and focusing on the natural beauty around you puts you back in touch with the present moment."