Finding joy in unusual places

Looking for some alternative and unusual ways to de-stress, relax and find a spot of joy?

Looking for some alternative and unusual ways to de-stress, relax and find a spot of joy?

Today’s world is dominated by connectivity and digital devices, and on average, we spend almost six hours a day on our phones – and that’s before we start taking time in front of computers or the television into account.

We tend to live busy, always-on lives, so carving out some time to find some joy – something that can help us relax and take a step away from the every day – is vitally important in both the short and long term.

Immediately, it can reduce stress, bring down your heart rate and provide balanced perspectives, while in the longer term, building relaxation and de-stressing techniques into your routine can have hugely positive effects on mental and physical health.

But knowing how to truly take that step away can be a challenge. Here are eight ways you can switch off, ranging from the unusual to the, well, very unusual.

Sound baths

There’s no water involved in this bath – but rather, you’re engulfed in waves of sound from a variety of sources, including gongs, singing bowls, percussion, chimes, rattles and tuning forks. Participants lie on their backs for between 15-60 minutes and enjoy a ‘state of harmony’ that comes from energy fields being cleared of discordance.

Ice baths

Dunking yourself in freezing cold water may not sound the most appealing of propositions, but it has been shown to help delay muscle soreness after exercise and perceptions of fatigue after exercise. In Norway, it’s been found that alternating between a sauna and an ice bath may have positive health effects too, including a heightened sense of pleasure and a positive mental state.

Float tanks

Lying in the dark and floating on water… it’s certainly one to challenge yourself with. However, if you’re wanting an escape from the day-to-day, you’ll certainly get it here. You would typically spend an hour floating on salt water, and many people find they move into a meditative state, feeling entirely calm and relaxed, as well as enjoying creative, healing and visualisation benefits. It also is said to stimulate the release of endorphins, the same feel-good chemical that’s released during exercise.

Laughter yoga

Laughter yoga relies on laughter without any type of humour – it’s an exercise program that is founded on the premise that laughter exercises combined with yoga breathing techniques can help you feel more energetic and healthy. Laughter yoga is practised in more than 110 countries, including here in Australia, and it’s said that ten to fifteen minutes of laughter yoga can help decrease stress, strengthen your immune system and help you stay positive.

Salt cave therapy (halotherapy)

Halotherapy dates back to the 12th century, and involves breathing in tiny salt particles, usually in spa-like salt rooms. It’s said halotherapy can help with lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and chronic coughs, as well as skin conditions, allergies and, of course, can help aid relaxation too.

Hypnagogic light experiences

This has its origins in research into near-death experiences, and the psychological benefits that often result from said experiences. It works by wide-spectrum solid and flickering lights entering the body through closed eyes, travelling through your optic nerve and into the central brain. Waves of light move through your body, activating neural networks and chemicals, resulting in a deeply relaxed state that resets your nervous system, lowers baseline levels of stress and can inspire creativity too.

Colour therapy (chromotherapy)

Another ‘new’ technique that has its origins in the deep and distant past, chromotherapy can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where people used sun-filled rooms with coloured glasses for relaxation purposes. Today, colours can be physically looked at or reflected onto your body, with colour therapists believing that different colours have different effects – warm colours can stimulate, while cooler colours can calm. As well as treating stress and depression, colour therapy can be used for anxiety, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, skin infections and to reduce aggression.

Choosing the right relaxation for you

As always, what works for one person may not work for another, and it’s important you conduct your own research before undertaking any new relaxation technique and visiting a new provider. It’s important to take time out for yourself – however you choose to do it – and building some relaxation time into your busy schedule can reap mental and physical benefits.


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