Fest Rest for the Stressed

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Engaging in a hobby, pastime or pleasurable activity is one of the best stress-busters the world over. And for Austinites, that often means music – making music, playing music or just kicking back and absorbing music. So what do we do when a stress-buster like our pleasure in music runs headlong in to some things that are a little stressful?

Stressful things like … sharing the park with thousands of neighbors and visitors from all over the world … in the heat of the Texas sun … with festival food and drinks … and a long list of performers you simply have to see. … Relax. Take a breath – literally.

This handful of portable stress-busting tips and tools can help you sail right through the Austin City Limits Music Festival, enjoying every step to the fullest. They’re quick, easy to do in public and as de-stressing as enjoying a favorite hobby. Use these stress-busters often enough and you may find you’re stressed out a little less frequently.

DO A LITTLE DEEP BREATHING.

Use the technique your yoga, meditation or tai chi instructor had you work so hard on. Or just keep inhaling until your stomach moves out a little farther than your chest. Then exhale just as fully, at least until your shoulders drop into a natural slump. Breathe peace and calm in through your nose. Breathe stress and strain out through your mouth.

Within five or 10 good breaths, you will feel a restoration. Deep breathing lowers both heart rate and blood pressure while also increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain and body. And it’s actually the exhalation that removes those stress-feeding toxins from the cells.

CHEW SOME GUM.

I’m not generally an advocate of gum chewing, and please make sure yours is free of both sugar and artificial sweeteners. But experts agree that regular, rhythmic movements like those of chewing gum trigger the natural relaxation reaction in a person. They also reduce disorganized brain activity, help to lower heart rate and slow down breathing.

GET A QUICK NECK AND SHOULDER MASSAGE.

It has been estimated that as many as 70 percent of Americans carry tension in this part of the body, impairing normal energy flow and signaling the rest of the body that big trouble could appear at any second. As little as two or three minutes of local massage can begin to release the tension and restore balance.

HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!

The human body is more than 60 percent water, which makes this refreshing beverage the literal stuff of life. With too little, toxins begin to build up in every cell, our mineral content (the other 40 percent of us) becomes unbalanced, and organ function can be compromised. Moreover, all those sugary drinks (including alcohol) that water could replace are actually stress-producing.

CONSIDER THE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY KALI PHOS.

Homeopathy really isn’t a one-answer-for-everybody kind of thing, but this remedy does say “stress” and “tension” right on the label. And you can drop three or four of the fat 6X tablets right into that water mentioned above (or let them melt under your tongue). Then drink water to support everything “nerve” – from the actual nerve tissues in the body to the feeling of nervousness. Safe, natural, no sedation or other side effects, and nicknamed the “homeopathic Valium,” it’s a great stress-buster.

Whether you’re getting ready to enjoy all that the ACL Music Festival has to offer or just trying to reduce the toll taken by the stress of modern living, the tips above can help. But don’t forget to incorporate basic, longer-term stress-busters in to your life, too. Eat nutritious food. Sleep until refreshed. Get regular exercise. And take some extra stress-busting vitamins, including all of the Bs and a little C.

And by all means, do the things that give you pleasure! They do reduce stress, which increases longevity. And they are also what make life worth living.

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