4 Super Simple Ways to Embrace Eco-Friendly Beauty

4 Super Simple Ways to Embrace Eco-Friendly Beauty

From cleansers and moisturizers, to makeup and hair products, it’s true that even the most basic beauty routines often involve using a wide range of cosmetic products. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

It can be a lot of fun to experiment with enhancing the natural beauty we know we already have in order to feel sexier and more confident. The real problem with cosmetic products is that most aren’t very eco-friendly. Many of them contain potentially harmful chemicals and are made from unsustainable materials that only add to the problem once they’re all used up and need to be thrown away.

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do a complete overhaul of their beauty routine by switching to more natural, sustainable cosmetic products. Lucky for us, we don’t necessarily have to.

Just by making a few easy and inexpensive tweaks to your beauty routine, you can make your whole routine a little greener. Here are four of the simplest ways to do just that.

Use biodegradable products.

Biodegradable cosmetic products are ideal because they’re made with ingredients that break down naturally. Traditional products may send harmful chemicals into our environment after they go down the drain, which could be detrimental to both animal and plant life.

Switching to a biodegradable shampoo and conditioner is a great start, but you’d get bonus points for making sure every type of soap that you use (including hand soap, body wash, facial cleansers, etc.) are also biodegradable.

Go for fragrance free or unscented products whenever possible.

Scented products certainly smell nice, but what makes them smell so nice might not be so good for you. According to the Environmental Working Group, cosmetic products that were tested contained 14 “secret” chemicals — some of which are known to cause hormonal disruptions and allergic reactions.

Products labeled “fragrance free” have no fragrances that were added to them while products labeled “unscented” may contain at least some type of fragrance used to mask other odors. Either one is often better than the scented alternative.

Make your own skincare treatments.

Do you know what you’re putting on your skin? Believe it or not, a variety of cosmetic lotions, moisturizers, and facial treatments could actually be drying out your skin rather than hydrating it.

Carrier oils like coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, and others not only offer natural moisturization, but also help balance out the natural oils of your skin. Here are three great ways you can moisturize with coconut oil — easy recipes included!

Educate yourself on cosmetic ingredients.

Take a walk down the cosmetic aisle of any store and chances are you’ll see lots of products labeled “natural.” Unfortunately, you can’t rely on these types of labels to tell the whole truth behind what's in them. Many of them still contain lots of ingredients that aren’t so eco-friendly.

If you really want to start shifting toward a greener beauty routine, your best bet is to invest the time and energy in reading the ingredients on cosmetic labels and understanding what ingredients you should avoid. As a starter, you can refer to the Environmental Working Group’s extensive cosmetic database to look up over 65,000 products and get a detailed summary of how safe or unsafe they may be.

The easiest way to go green when it comes to beauty is to make small and subtle changes first. You can always build on it over time and eventually transform your entire beauty routine so it's as eco-friendly as possible.

5 Steps to Practice Letting Go

5 Steps to Practice Letting Go

We all get attached to certain things that make life comfortable and predictable. We hang out with the same crowd, we maintain certain lifestyle habits, we stick to the same schedule, and we have personal items we think can’t live without.

Attachment is great if comfort and predicability is all that we want out of life. But if we dig deeper into ourselves, most of us will discover that this is in fact not what we want.

We all want to grow and to reach our fullest potential. That’s why we’re all here.

Learning to let go of what we’ve unconsciously attached ourselves to throughout the entirety of our lives is a skill that can be developed. The more detached we remain from thoughts, ideas, beliefs, people, items, and desired future outcomes, the better off we are at reaching our fullest potential.

It just takes practice. Here’s how you can start.

1. Pick an area of your life you wish to improve.

Whether you want to improve your love life, your health, your finances, your career, or some other area of your life, just pick one that sticks out the most to you right now. It could even be something more specific, like a career-related goal or level of intimacy in your romantic relationship.

2. Write out exactly what you want.

You can write a paragraph, jot down some quick notes,or  use a bullet point list to write out the details of what you truly desire to improve in that aspect of your life. For example, if you’re looking to improve intimacy in your romantic relationship, you could list out the exact signs of physical affection you desire, the small ways you might show each other appreciation in your everyday lives, the activities you’d love to do together more often, ideas for how to make your sex life better, and so on and so forth.

3. Skip the intense planning process.

This seems counterintuitive, but to truly practice letting go, you have to avoid getting caught up in the planning or the "how-to" process. Instead of looking at what you wrote down in the previous step and putting a bunch mini goals on your calendar or coming up with a detailed blueprint comprised of 10 different habits you need to adopt, try just focusing on the current moment. What are you genuinely interested in exploring or doing right now that might move you an inch closer?

4. Read your list of wants every morning and every night.

This is how you slowly reprogram your subconscious. By reading your list (or paragraph) of what you want every morning when you wake up and just before you go to sleep, you begin the process of hardwiring those desires deeply into your being. You won’t need an intense action plan that you’ll have to force yourself to follow because your subconscious will naturally guide you to do the things you need to do to achieve those desires.

5. Surrender to faith.

The most important part of this entire process is the ability to genuinely be okay with whatever happens while knowing that somehow, your desires will be achieved. This doesn’t mean daydreaming all day and never doing anything. It simply means recognizing the intuitive feeling inside of you that gave rise to your desires, knowing that the Universe will reward you with them as long as you stay true to yourself, and then doing whatever feels right in the moment.

Letting go allows us to flow along with life so we can learn more effectively and make adjustments as we experience new things. A rigid action plan may sound great to the logical, thinking mind, but your subconscious unfortunately doesn’t work that way.

Let go, do what feels right in the moment, flow with life, and eventually achieve your dreams. It’s as simple as that.

5 Tips for Maintaining Flexible Health Habits

5 Tips for Maintaining Flexible Health Habits

It feels pretty great to plan to consistently eat healthy and exercise daily at a very specific time. The only problem is that too much planning leaves little room to be flexible when life gets in the way.

The truth is that planning is easy. Being flexible without completely falling off the wagon is the hard part.

The trick is figuring out how to strike the right balance between planning to live a healthier lifestyle while remaining flexible enough to deal with uncertainty. Here are five tips that can help you strike that balance.

1. Ditch Calorie Counting for Mindful Eating

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a nutrition app or tool to help educate you about the food you choose to eat. Calorie counting, however, can become a big problem when it starts to feel like a chore.

While calories matter to a certain extent, there are so many other variables influencing your health and rate at which you burn calories. Many people are better off focusing on being mindful of their eating habits and noticing how food makes them feel rather than relying on a calculator to tell them.

2. Eat Real, Healthy Foods You Already Love

Research has shown that people have more success with sticking to their healthy eating goals by focusing on eating the healthy foods they know they already love as opposed to focusing on restricting the foods they know they shouldn’t have.

You don’t have to give up your favorite guilty pleasures, nor do you have to force yourself to slurp down horrible tasting protein shakes in place of real food. Make a list of all the healthy fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods that you know you already love, and just focus on those.

3. Stick to Exercise You Actually Like Doing

Feel like exclusively sticking to yoga? Go for it! Want to mix it up with a bit of cardio? That works too! Even when life gets hectic, chances are you’ll find it easier to make time for the types of exercise that you actually enjoy doing.

Whatever form of exercise you feel like doing, you should definitely do it. Forcing yourself to do some form of exercise you don’t enjoy — even if it has great health benefits — could backfire in the long run if it’s just too painful and difficult to stick with.

 4. Detach from All Beliefs and Assumptions About Health

It’s one thing to read books, subscribe to blogs, and watch videos to educate yourself about health. It’s quite another to believe certain “health rules” so much that you cling to them even when there’s not enough evidence to prove it's true for everyone, or counter evidence to prove that the opposite may be true.

For example, many health enthusiasts swear by always eating breakfast, and if you struggle with eating breakfast but choose to believe in this rule anyway, trying to follow it will be stressful. Instead, stay open-minded and look for alternatives or counter evidence — such as the idea of using intermittent fasting to replace breakfast — to help you find something that works best for you.

5. Embrace Being Perfectly Imperfect

Nobody maintains a perfectly healthy lifestyle all the time. The reality is that no specific type of food or lifestyle habit is absolutely healthy or unhealthy, because everything is relative and can be seen differently when you focus on the bigger picture.

You can skip a couple days of exercise or spend an entire evening chowing down on high-fat, high-sugar foods and still be considered to have a healthy lifestyle as long as you get back to your exercise and healthy eating habits afterward. Everyone is allowed to mess up, indulge a bit, have a lazy day, and enjoy life every so often.

Without being flexible, working so hard to get healthy wouldn’t be nearly as fun or rewarding! Use the above tips to tweak your plans to stay healthy and feel better about having to make adjustments when necessary.

One-Minute Grounding Tips to Calm and Center You

One-Minute Grounding Tips to Calm and Center You

Spring can be an exciting time as we ponder the endless possibilities of what’s to come when the most active, high-energy time of year finally arrives (a.k.a. summer!). However, it can be far too easy to lose ourselves in thought as we anxiously overanalyze what may or may not happen.

For these reasons, having a few quick and effective grounding practices can go a long way. They’re also useful for when we’re too busy or not in an ideal environment to do a lengthier, more inward-focused meditation.

If you have one minute to spare, you can ground and center yourself. Here are four grounding super simple, super quick grounding techniques to try.

Focus on your inhales and exhales.

Grounding yourself can be as simple as becoming mindful of your breathing. You don’t have to force yourself to change the way your breathing — just bring your awareness to the sensation of the air going in through your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs before breathing it back out again. After a few breaths with your full awareness placed on it, it’s likely that your body will naturally respond by slowing your breathing down as you become more grounded in the present.

Tune into the sensations in your body.

Whether you’re moving your body in some way or sitting almost perfectly still, you can bring yourself back to being fully in your physical body by placing your awareness on different body parts (such as in a body scan meditation) to fully feel what’s going on there. Many times, we’re hardly aware of some powerful sensations that are occurring in our feet, legs, hips, stomachs, and other body parts because we're so lost in thought. But when we tune into these parts, we open ourselves up to interpreting what our bodies are trying to tell us in this very moment.

Feel the ground beneath your feet.

What could be more grounding than noticing the connection between your two feet and the ground beneath you? If you have the opportunity to kick off your shoes so that you can stand or walk through the grass, you should definitely do it since there’s scientific evidence proving that transferring electrons from the Earth to our bodies is healing in many ways. If not, feeling your weight in your shoes and the support of the ground or floor beneath you can be enough to feel more grounded.

Look for signs of nature.

Last but not least, an easy way to ground yourself in as little as a few seconds to a minute is by taking a look around your current environment to spot anything that comes directly from nature. Something as simple as noticing a houseplant in the far corner of your home or looking out a window to the blue sky above are some simple examples. If you find that there’s nothing around you that comes straight from nature, see if you can step outside the door for a minute to see what’s out there and study it mindfully to promote a feeling of groundedness.

Try these one-minute grounding tips anytime you find yourself getting carried away by thought. You might be surprised by just how effective and fast acting they can be!

3 Ayurvedic Tips for Spring Skincare

3 Ayurvedic Tips for Spring Skincare

Your skin is a living, breathing part of your physical body that’s constantly changing. According to Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science), skincare should flow along with Mother Nature by changing with the seasons.

Early spring is kapha season, characterized by cold and oiliness from increased moisture after a long winter. As we move into late spring, increased warmth brings us closer to pitta season, marked by lightness and hotter temperatures that tell us summer is on its way.

If you haven’t already tweaked your skincare regimen since the end of winter, now is the time to do so. Here are a few skincare tips that will nourish and balance our your skin as we make the transition from cold to warm again.

Detox Your Skin from the Inside Out

Spring is a renewing time of year when it becomes a very popular trend to cleanse or detoxify our minds and bodies of what has accumulated throughout the winter months. And when it comes to our skin, a healthy looking outer glow starts with what we put into our bodies.

Drinking plenty of water and incorporating more foods that help with detoxification will help your skin release toxins. Begin by reducing the amount of heavy, fried, and oily foods so that you can replace them with more green veggies, juicy fruits, whole grains, and spices that help stimulate digestion.

Massage Your Skin with Warm Oil to Lift Impurities

The increased moisture and warmth in the air brought by spring helps to naturally eliminate toxins and impurities that tend to build up over winter, but we can help the process along by gently massaging the skin with warm oil. Suggested oils to use include sesame oil, olive oil, or mustard oils.

If you know what dosha is your dominant one, you can select an oil that that works to balance it out. Warm a bottle or bowl of oil by placing it in your sink full of warm water and then gently apply a small amount to your skin, massaging slowly in a circular motion. You can optionally steam your skin first by holding your head over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head to help open up your pores.

Go Light on Moisturizing

Now that the dryness of winter has passed, there’s no need to heavily moisturize the skin quite as much since it could cause oiliness. You don’t have to give up your moisturizing routine completely, but switching to a lighter moisturizer will go a long way.

Depending on how frequently you decide to massage and cleanse your skin with warm oil as suggested in the previous paragraphs, you may not even need to apply a moisturizer to your skin since the oil will be moisturizing enough. If you received our Lifestyle Box for March, you should have received our nutrient-rich coconut firming facial mask, which will not only hydrate your skin, but also soften and improve its appearance.

Anyone can use the above tips, but be sure to tailor your skincare regimen to your unique skincare needs as well. Whether you sense that your dominant dosha is pitta or you know that your skin is prone to acne and blemishes, make adjustments where necessary to keep your skin healthy and glowing all spring long.

5 Ways to Ensure You Never Stop Growing

5 Ways to Ensure You Never Stop Growing

Ever get the feeling that you’re not really living up to your fullest potential? Life has a way of keeping us busy and distracted so that we always have all sorts of excuses to make about why it’s been weeks, months, or even years since we last really challenged ourselves and grew from it in any meaningful way.

What’s worse, so many of us have been so invested in the busy, distracting tasks of everyday life for so long—perhaps decades—that we don’t even know what types of challenges we really want to pursue. We may deeply want to become the best versions of ourselves, but if we’re so busy taking care of everything and everyone else, it’s easier and safer to stick with our distracting routines than it is to take time to learn about what it is that we really want, and the pursue it.

It's up to you to use your own sense of awareness to identify what's really important and what will serve you most in terms of growth. Chances are it's probably not the safe, comfortable, and totally unchallenging routine that you may have been doing for a long time already.

Here are five simple habits that can help rev up stagnant growth again and make you feel like you’re growing by leaps and bounds.

Make inward reflection a regular habit.

Whether you mediate every morning for 20 minutes or you take an entire afternoon to yourself at the end of every month to reflect on the past 30 days or so, scheduling some quiet time where you can disconnect from everyone and everything is hugely important for personal growth. Looking inward helps you develop your intuitive listening skills so that you can become conscious of the tiniest physical sensations and subtlest emotions—all of which are messages from your deepest self that are trying to tell you something about how to move forward. Here’s how you can start an inward reflective mindfulness practice.

Recognize when you no longer feel like you’re learning anything.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you become distracted by the busy nature of modern life and all its responsibilities. Unfortunately, it’s even easier to remain stuck in the never ending cycle of things that need to get done. If you never have the time or energy to do anything new, however, then how can you grow? Once you truly become aware that you're no longer learning anything new, it’s time to explore new ways to explore how you can reintegrate it back into your life.

Do one small task a day that scares you.

If you don’t like the word “scare," then replace it with “challenge.” Do something every day that challenges you in a brand new way. It doesn’t have to be big—something as small as trying to practice your supported headstand away from the wall for the very first can count as something scary and challenging.

Make an effort to meet new people regularly.

While the people you already know well and spend your time with can certainly help you grow, it’s new connections and friendships that tend to inspire us in ways we may not have ever considered before. So look to your yoga teachers, your fellow yogis, people you meet at events, and other friendly faces to help you discover new things about yourself and the world around you. Other people have a lot to teach you, and remaining open to that can unlock great potential for personal growth.

Have great self-compassion.

All personal growth journeys come with their fair share of bumps along the road. When mistakes are made and setbacks happen, it will be your own sense of self-compassion that will help get you through it. Learning to be kind to yourself even when it feels like you’ve taken one step forward and then three steps back is the ultimate skill that sets the people who succeed in accelerating their personal growth apart from the people who give up too early.

Remember that even when it feels like you aren't growing, you certainly are. The biggest growth spurts happen over the long-term and come from the little things you do over and over again on a daily or weekly basis.

5 Easy Ways to Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods

5 Easy Ways to Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods

Eating a diverse variety of natural foods is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. In addition to optimizing the types and amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other valuable nutrients by eating this way, we also increase our chances of getting more fiber into our diets.

According to WebMD, women should aim to get about 25 grams of fiber a day while men should aim for 38 grams. One of the most noticeable benefits of a high-fiber diet includes reduced hunger and cravings due to feeling fuller longer. Improved digestion is another great benefit.

Besides including fruits and veggies at every meal and choosing whole grains whenever possible, there are a few other things you can do to get more fiber-rich foods into your diet. Try a few of the following and you should have no problem hitting your daily fiber goals.

1. Fuel Up on Smoothies

Smoothies are perhaps one of the easiest and most delicious ways to get more fiber. Unlike juicing, which only extracts the juice from fruits and veggies while leaving much of the fibrous portions behind, smoothies involve blending the whole fruit or vegetable so that all fiber is still there. Here are three green smoothie recipes to try out.

2. Add Flax or Chia Seeds to Your Breakfast

Whether you prefer cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or even a delicious smoothie for breakfast, pumping up the fiber is easy enough to do with the help of some flaxseeds or chia seeds. Just sprinkle them on top or mix them in with all the other ingredients. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 3 grams of fiber while a tablespoon of chia seeds packs about 5.5 grams.

3. Snack on Nuts

Nuts are great sources of healthy fats and protein in addition to a wider variety of healthy vitamins and minerals. Just a handful can easily make a significant difference in your fiber intake for the day at about 7 grams per 100-gram serving of mixed nuts. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts are among the highest in fiber, so go for those if you really want to up your fiber intake.

4. Make Your Own Hummus

Hummus is made from pureed chickpeas, and this powerful little legume packs a whopping 35 grams of fiber per cup. Although you probably won't be consuming an entire cup of hummus in one sitting, t’s easy enough to make your own in a blender with some chickpeas and a few other ingredients like olive oil and spices. For an even greater fiber boost, you can enjoy your homemade hummus with other fiber-rich veggies like carrots, bell peppers, and celery!

5. Have Half an Avocado a Day

Besides pretty much being the only fruit that offers a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat, half an avocado has about 7 grams of fiber. You can throw it in your smoothie, spread it on toast, chop it into slices to put in a salad, or even mix it with cocoa and your favorite natural sweetener to turn it into a healthier version of chocolate mousse!

Tip: Drink Up!

As you work on increasing your fiber intake using some of the helpful hints above, remember to balance it out by drinking lots of water. Too much fiber without enough water can slow things down and cause digestive issues for some people, so make sure you’re hydrating regularly throughout the day as you snack on all your favorite healthy, high-fiber foods.

4 Amazing Ways to Practice Yoga With Animals

4 Amazing Ways to Practice Yoga With Animals

Ever wish you could combine your love for animals with your yoga practice in such a way that goes beyond using vegan and cruelty-free yoga products? If you’re up to try something seriously quirky, practicing yoga with live animals by your side (or underneath you or over you) might be something worth considering.

Yes, practicing yoga alongside animals is a thing. It’s just one of the many trends that proves yoga is versatile enough for practically anyone to get involved with — even those who aren’t human!

Dog Yoga (Doga)

Perhaps the most popular form of animal-involved yoga is dog yoga, or “doga.” It’s a style of partner yoga designed for dog owners, which gives them the opportunity to bond with their canine family members. Dogs, of course, can’t perform the yoga postures that people can, so doga has very specific partner postures that are designed for dogs. Depending on where you live, you may be lucky enough to find doga classes being offered in your area.

Cat Yoga

Cat yoga isn’t exactly like dog yoga. After all, not all cats have the friendly, inviting personalities that dogs have and trying to make your cat do yoga with you could result in a seriously scary scratch incident! Cat yoga is more about combining the joys of having cats present while people practice yoga. Some yoga studios invite shelter cats into their classes, giving students the opportunity to interact with them outside the shelter and hopefully help them find new homes.

Horseback Yoga

Looking to really challenge your sense of balance? Horseback yoga is just what it sounds like it is: practicing yoga while perched on the back of a horse. Tree pose may be a cinch on stable, flat ground, but on a horse? Now that’s a challenge! If you’re willing to try this one, you’re going to have to find one of the few retreat centers and resorts that offer it. This is one style of yoga that certainly requires a trained professional to safely guide you through performing elegant yoga poses on a horse.

Goat Yoga

If you thought animal-friendly yoga couldn’t get any quirkier, think again. Goat yoga began at the No Regrets Farm in Albany, Oregon when farm owner Lainey Morse let a friend hold her classes there. The goats got curious and weren’t at all shy to hang around as everyone practiced on their mats. And that’s how goat yoga came to be. The goats don’t do any actual yoga, but their presence offers a very fun and adorable addition to a class full of people!

Yoga With Animals: Cute or Not?

Practicing yoga alongside animals is an interesting way to shake things up, but it certainly isn’t for every yogi (or every animal, for that matter). Having an animal around that doesn’t know what’s going on can be distracting, and anything with hooves, horns, teeth, or claws could pose a danger to yogis who wish to try to get them to cooperate.

If you’re going to try any of the above styles of animal yoga out, be prepared to not be completely overwhelmed with cuteness and remember to respect the animal’s boundaries. Animals have minds of their own too, and they won’t hesitate to let you know when they don’t like what you’re doing!

Image (edited) via JasonParis

How to Practice Yoga for Insomnia

How to Practice Yoga for Insomnia

Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? Perhaps yoga can help.

Although insomnia can be caused by a wide variety things, including both lifestyle habits and physical conditions, yoga may be a gentle, natural aid for restoring mental, emotional, and physical health in ways that promote better sleep. Best of all, almost anyone can practice yoga for this very purpose.

Here’s what researchers found when they examined yoga’s influence on people’s sleep quality.

The Effects of Yoga on Chronic Insomnia

In a 2004 study, a small group of subjects with chronic insomnia spent two weeks participating in a two-week baseline intervention followed by an eight-week yoga program. For the first two weeks, the subjects kept a diary where they reported on their sleep and daytime experiences before moving on to start the yoga part of the experiment. The yoga program included single, in-person training sessions plus subsequent followups in person or by phone.

Subjects practiced Kundalini yoga, which is a style of yoga that places a large emphasis on meditation and breathing techniques in addition to simple postures. All postures were seated postures to promote relaxation, and the participants followed the exact same set every day over the eight-week yoga treatment period.

By the end of the yoga program, statistically significant improvements were observed in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, sleep onset latency, and wake time after sleep onset when compared to baseline/pretreatment values.

The Kundalini Yoga Sequence That Promotes Sleep

Curious to know what type of yoga sequence the subjects in this study followed to get the sleep results that they did? The following bullet point list outlines the postures and meditation styles that were performed for a total of about 30 minutes a day.

  • Start with long, slow, abdominal breathing with meditation for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Extend the arms upward at a 60-degree angle with flat palms facing upwards combined with meditation on the breath for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Extend the arms horizontally out to the sides with upward bent wrists and palms facing away combined with meditation on the breath for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Bring the hands together in prayer at the chest with meditation on the breath for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • End with a breathing meditation called “Shabad Kriya." This involves resting upward facing palms in the lap with the right one over the left while thumbs are touching. Eyes are slightly open with a downward facing gaze. An inhale is taken in four quick bursts or “sniffs” while silently saying the mantra “Sa, Ta, Na, Ma.” This is followed by holding the breath for 16 counts again saying the mantra before exhaling in two bursts and saying a different mantra, “Wahe Guru.” The breathing meditation can be done comfortably at any speed as long as the ratio of inhale to hold to exhale is 4:16:2. This can be repeated for up to 11 minutes.

The participants were encouraged to practice this yoga sequence in the evening, preferably before going to bed. If they couldn’t do it in the evening, then they were instructed to practice it at a more convenient time of the day that worked for them.

So instead of watching Netflix, staring at your phone, or worrying about tomorrow’s agenda, take 30 minutes before bed to try this yoga sequence. If you keep it up for a few days, you might just see a pretty significant improvement in your sleep.

Imaged (edited) via Loren Kerns

15 Ways to Reach Instant Calm

15 Ways to Reach Instant Calm

We can’t always dedicate an entire day (let alone an entire hour) to engaging in some sort of calm, relaxing activity. In cases like these, it’s nice to have a few go-to techniques that can bring about a sense of calm in as little as a few seconds.

Here are just 15 techniques to try next time you’re feeling a little stressed out, anxious, or negative about something that's going on in your life.

1. Take a deep breath. Breathing is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to calm down. Here are three techniques to try when you want to fall asleep.

2. Change your environment. You’d be amazed at what a difference it can make to simply get out of your current environment just by stepping into the next room. If you can, go outside for some fresh air.

3. Do child’s pose. Child’s pose is a resting pose that helps relieve stress and fatigue while encouraging you to turn your awareness inward.

4. Do a body scan to release physical tension. Body can meditations can be quick or as long and as thorough as you like. Here’s how to do a body scan.

5. Use aromatherapy. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, frankincense, ylang ylang, rose, and others are known to have a calming effect. Use them with a diffuser around your home.

6. Try a hand massage. Massage your hands freely with some lotion or try pressing your thumb from one hand to the palm of your other hand for a soothing effect.

7. Practice gratitude. What are you grateful for right now? Think about all that you have in your life right now to see things from a positive perspective.

8. Write what you feel. Even if you don’t have time to write a full journal entry, a sentence or two of what you're feeling right now can be enough of a release.

9. Hug yourself. If you can’t hug someone else, hug yourself! Wrapping your arms around yourself is a self-loving act that can be just as good as a hug from another person.

10. Clear your schedule. Take a look at your to-do list and knock off an item or two that can wait until tomorrow. Even if they’re small things, you’ll instantly feel a small lift off your shoulders.

11. Say an affirmation or mantra. Affirmations and mantras have the power to change your perspective or become aware of something. Here are 5 short and simply positive mantras to try.

12. Change into comfortable clothes. If you’re at home, get comfy by changing into loose-fitting clothing that allow your body to move freely and your skin to breathe.

13. Have a hot beverage. Whether you love coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or some other delicious hot beverage, the warmth may help you feel a little less stressed.

14. Listen to your favorite song. Music has the power to calm your emotions and lift you up. So grab a pair of headphones and put on your favorite song or playlist for an instant pick-me-up.

15. Practice mindfulness. Nothing compares to bringing your awareness to the sensations you’re feeling in the present moment. Become mindful to detach from thoughts and instantly feel better.

Pick a couple of the above techniques to try next time you feel negativity start to creep up in your thoughts. The more you use them, the more you’ll associate them with a sense of calm, and the more effective they’ll be when you need to turn to them again and again.