Science-Tried Tips & Tricks to Improve Sleep & Relaxation

Podcasts, social media posts, and bloggers are always spitting out tips on how to be happier, relaxed, and better rested. But no matter how much we hear them, rest and relaxation may go unachieved.

We’ve been exploring this topic for quite some time, and we’ve found that it can be simplified while keeping things legit and scientific. Also, we’ve discovered that it HAS to be kept simple and legit, otherwise it will end up on the backburner (Note: this is bad when you leave your burners going because you’ll eventually get burned).

So, to keep things simple, we’ll focus on two biological aspects of rest and relaxation and throw out some scienc-y solutions that can address them. Now let’s dive in!  

Put That SNS On Standby!

We’ll say our nerves are frazzled when we’re stressed out, but there’s a literal truth to this common statement. Our nervous system (aka system of nerves) plays a direct role in stress through the autonomic nervous system and it’s two parts: the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the rest-and-digest parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).

When we get stressed out, our mind senses a threat and triggers the stress response. It doesn’t matter if we’re thinking about a project deadline or we’re looking at a hungry mountain lion, our mind perceives these stress-inducing feelings to mean that there is a threat. So, the SNS is activated and the body begins pumping out adrenaline to get the muscles and brain prepared to fight or run away. If we remain stressed after this initial adrenaline release, our body will emit cortisol to help keep us alert. Very helpful when you’re running away from a mountain lion. Not so helpful when you need to relax to get to work or to fall asleep.

Better rest comes in shifting from the adrenaline and cortisol craziness of an active SNS to the calm and peaceful state of an activated PNS. In other words, we need to stop stressing out so that we can relax and rest.      

  • Sip Herbal Relaxants: There are a few categories of herbs which can be used to promote relaxation and better sleep. Nervine relaxants are able to calm the nervous system to reduce stress, plus they can ease tension in our bodies. The most effective include skullcap, kava kava, wild lettuce, and passionflower. You can drink them as tea or take them as a tincture, but do so as recommended. They can have sedative and mildly-euphoric effects, so you want to make sure you don’t overdo it on the dosage. For a more mild but equally powerful relaxing alternative, get a bottle of quality essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and hops. Apply to the body via carrier oil after your nightly shower, drop it on your pillow, or put it in a diffuser to catch a whiff of restful scents.

  • Conscious Breathing: If we had a dollar for every time someone told us, “Just breathe!” we’d be a good hundred dollars richer. Annoying as this advice may be, it’s spot on. The claimed benefits of breathing of ancient schools and practices are being validated by modern science again and again. Scientists and sleep experts know that conscious breathing can reduce blood pressure and elevate mood. By focusing on our breathing we not only get more oxygen into our bodies and supercharge circulation. Turning our attention to our breath naturally relaxes our stress response, allowing us to shift from the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system to the rest-and-digest parasympathetic nervous system. It’s easy to scoff at meditation with how trendy and overhyped it’s become, but the benefits or mindfulness and breath are real.

  • Stop Stressing And Write Down Your C.R.A.P: Night time needs to be set as a special time for us to sit back, relax, reflect, and enjoy life. However, the mind isn’t always on board with this. That’s where neuroscientist Dr. Mark Waldman and his C.R.A.P. Board (Conflicts, Resistances, Anxieties, and Procrastination) can help. Jot down everything you need to get off your chest for each worry: what you’re worried about, how you feel about it, why it’s so stressful, everything. Simply making this list and setting it on the table for review the next morning may be enough. However, if you’re still feeling anxiety, take it a step further by writing out the absolute worst that could happen (it’s never really as bad as our mind claims it is), then follow-up by listing a some quick ideas on actions you can take to help address that. Getting this stuff down on paper will allow your mind to shut up because it knows that all your CRAP is on a list and waiting to be taken care of.  

Set Your Circadian Rhythms

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of circadian rhythms, but there are some important factoids that get missed. Circadian rhythms refer to a natural cycle our bodies follow involving body temperature, metabolism, behavior, and hormone production (ie. sleep-inducing melatonin). Daylight plays a major role in our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.

Here’s the deal. Inside our brain, there’s a nerve bundle known as the Suprachiasmiatic Nucleus (SCN). This group of nerves happens to be located right next to the area of the brain where our opticals nerves cross. Our optical nerves pick up on light and darkness, so our SCN naturally knows daytime from nighttime and acts as the master clock. When the SCN perceives darkness, it kicks up production of the sleep hormone melatonin to initiate rest and relaxation. As the night goes on and the morning sun begins to shine in our bedroom, the SCN cuts down on melatonin. So, when it comes to getting our bodies to relax and rest, we need to get our circadian rhythms on track.         

  • Routine: Remember how as a kid in school, you’d wake up at the same time every morning? That’s because routine helps to regulate processes within our body so we develop our own inner clock. Our bodies loves cycles and routines. Now, as adults we have our routines, but the average person’s schedule involves going to bed too late, sleeping too little, taking little to no time to unwind, etc. We need a solid routine where we give our minds and bodies time to relax and we allow for ourselves to get enough sleep to feel restored and refreshed.     
  • Lighting: Electronics and standard light bulbs produce light within the blue wavelength spectrum. Just like our sun. Blue light throws off our natural circadian rhythms, and it’s being studied for links to health problems too. It’s safe to say that this is one time where we should “go natural.” Stick with dim lighting (or invest in red light bulbs if you can), blue-blocking glasses, and apps that filter light for night time. While you’re avoiding light at night, make sure that you’re allowing yourself plenty of wakeful light in the morning. If you have to wake up early or you have blackout curtains, considering investing in wake-up light therapy clocks.

That’s it for today’s tips on rest and relaxation. Have you tried out any of the tips shared above? Or maybe you have one to add to the list? Be sure to share with us on social media!

This blog post was created by our contributing author of TheraBlog: Ash Stevens. Check out her blog here

September “Intention” Box

An look into our sold-out September Box

If you missed out, you can still purchase the individual items on the retailer’s websites in the links below:

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September’s Happiness Boosting Activity: Daily Intentions

A 4 week supply of daily intention cards, September’s happiness booster is focused on setting daily intentions to live a present and authentic life. Think of intentions as an inner GPS system. It’s a roadmap that guides you through the day mindfully. If you set your intentions and do your best to follow them, increased clarity and focus will follow as you tackle life’s daily challenges. Retails for $5.99 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

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The Happy Shoppe – Daily Planner
Start you day right with these adorable pastel colored daily planners featuring beautifully illustrated unique designs on each page. Hard cover binding to weather daily use, and compact enough to carry with you wherever the day takes you! Inside, you will find the planner divided into a few sections: Yearly plan, Monthly plan, Weekly/Daily plan plus an incorporated to-do list! Truly a sophisticated yet simple planner that’s completely customizable to fit your lifestyle. Retails for $24.00 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

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The Happy Shoppe – Sage Smudge Kit with Abalone Shell

For those new to the world of sage, a quick google search can teach you the longstanding history behind sage, and how to get the most out of this ancient ritual. “Smudging”, also known as burning sage, helps clear negative energy from our lives. The strong scent of sage is thought to purge negative energy from both the physical and emotional space of our lives along with dissipating smoke. The act of burning sage can mark a new beginning or resolution. Furthermore, studies have shown that sage releases negative ions when burned and concentrated amounts of negative ions correlate with lower rates of depression and purification of the air. Many air purifiers utilize negative ions to cleanse the air! While it’s still unclear how much negative ions are released through smudging, you can be sure that the negative ions and positive vibes will float in the air! Retails for $14.99 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

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Sol Sisters Organics – 100% Organic Ocean Probiotic Deodorant
We love the fact that this 100% organic handcrafted probiotic deodorant goes on smooth, clear, doesn’t rub off on clothes, smells amazing, and is completely non-irritating. The ingredients within work together to balance your pH levels and combats body odor. If you’re new to using natural products for your underarms, you may have a detox phase as store brand deodorants use chemicals and aluminum to block sweat glands and mask odor. Having an initial cleanse is important, as it will take about one week for your body to adjust to the natural ingredients. When you begin using natural ingredients on your underarms, the sweat glands open up to release toxins in the form of sweat. After the initial detox phase, your new deodorant can fully work it’s magic! Retails for $12.00 + $8 flat rate shipping (~20.00) @ www.solsistersinc.com

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The Happy Shoppe – Textured balance necklace

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. This beautiful “balance” necklace features a centering textured bar as the focus point of the necklace. The bar serves as a daily reminder to remain centered, balanced, and mindful as you take on your day with intention. Make a wish or set a goal before putting on your necklace and wear it as a daily reminder that a happy life is not built upon the goal of perfection, but balance. Retails for $15.99 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

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Ohm It – “Manifestation” Eucalyptus Crystal Infused Candle

We can’t imagine a better combination than all natural essential oils and healing crystals joining forces in the form of a hand-poured, natural soy based candle. One fills your home with a lovely chemical-free scent, while the other dispels negative energy with good vibes. Combine the two together and you’ve got an addition to your home decor collection that emanates both positivity and style! A perfect addition to your morning ritual, meditation practice, or to end your intention filled day on a high note. We simply can’t stop smelling these candles! We were lucky to get our orders in, as their site is currently under construction. Keep an eye out for when they go live! www.ohmit.meYou may be able to place a direct order through instagram: _om_it
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The Happy Shoppe – Good Meowning 16 oz Mug
Animal lovers! Start your morning right with this adorable ceramic cat mug. Designed by the cat lovers here at TheraBox to invoke early morning smiles! Retails for $12.99 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe
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Oily Provisions – Nasal Energy Inhaler

Inhalers allow for essential oils to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream by way of the thin membranes in your respiratory tract. This energy blend is infused with bergamot, lime, cypress, and juniper to combat fatigue and keep you energized throughout your day! Retails for $5.00 + shipping (~8.00) at www.etsy.com/shop/oilyprovisions

Our past 5 boxes have sold out before our shipment date, so save a spot today to ensure you don’t miss our October “Love” box!

August “Rest” Box

Curious about all the items in our sold-out August Rest themed box?

Check them out! You can still purchase the individual items on the retailer’s websites in the links below:
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August’s Happiness Boosting Activity: Meditation Bunny
August’s happiness booster incorporated an adorable 4GB USB  equipped with meditation soundtracks aimed at promoting sleep and relaxation! We know without proper sleep and adequate rest, it’s really hard to be happy. Mindfulness meditation has been proven over and over again to improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia. The body scan and visualization meditations are especially helpful in enhancing sleep, so we have included these within the bunny. Retails for $9.99 at www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

Your Tea – Sleep Tea
This is our favorite tea, ever! Sleep tea uses traditional Chinese medicine and herbs to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and calms the mind through reducing heat in the body. Best of all, the ingredients are gluten free and the tea tastes delicious! steep a bag nightly for your best sleep yet. Retails for $25.00 + shipping @ YourTea.com

Peace of Mind – Love meditation/body mist
Peace of Mind’s body mist is made of 100% all natural organic essential oils and organic witch hazel. Not only is the spray amazing for the skin, but it also helps to balance hormones and emotions. One spray can out you in the perfect mindset to attract love and remind us of the love that we have within ourselves. A wonderful mist to spray before bed to end the day with love and intention. Retails for $18.00 + shipping @ www.peacemindlove.com

The EO Shop – Be Joyous Essential Oil Roll On Blend
Be your best self with this joy inducing blend filled with lavender, clary sage, ylang ylang, and marjoram. The aroma and therapeutic properties of these oils will calm your mind and put a joyous smile on your face. The EO Shop only uses the highest quality of therapeutic grade essential oils. For 15% off any order, use code TheraBoxAug15 ~ Expires 9/30/2017 – Retails for $14.00 @ www.theeoshop.etsy.com

Sincerely Different – Sleep Balm
With its unique blend of oils (including German Blue Chamomile, Frankincense, Lavender, and Blood Orange), the Sweet Dreams Salve helps everyone from military veterans to anxious students and restless sleepers get a better night’s rest. Just rub a small amount on your temples and wrists to enjoy a better sleep tonight. Use coupon code THERABOX for 20% off a future purchase on their official site! $10.00 + shipping @ www.sincerelydifferent.com

The Happy Shoppe – Cooling/Heating Sleep Mask
This adorable cat eye mask comes with a cooling/heating gel pad that is easily inserted into the mask. When used heated, the heating sensation relaxes tired eyes to promote a restful sleep. When used cool, the cooling sensation will assist with reducing eyebags and puffiness! Retails for $12.99 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

PackAge – Sweet Dream Deep Sleeping Mask
Take a rest with this deep sleep inducing mask filled with lavender and herbal therapy to promote rest while rejuvenating the skin! Contains lavender oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter to create a moisture barrier and increase pH balance in the skin. The mask is free of any alcohol, fragrances, parabens, or artificial ingredients! Retails for $5.99 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

Vintage Wooden Bookmark
Light a candle and read a book. Before you drift off to your best sleep yet, save the page with these elegant wooden bookmarks! They are beautiful, yet fragile so do handle with care. Retails for $5.99 @ www.mytherabox.com/thehappyshoppe

The Practice of Happiness

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“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” We’ve all heard that quote in some form or another before. It has a nice ring to it, but what does it really mean? As simple as this quote seems, it actually is a key principal behind the science of happiness. The findings surrounding positive psychology shows that happiness is ultimately a practice which can be executed in many forms. Furthermore, in order to sustain and maintain happiness we need to develop a consistent practice.

The good news is that practicing happiness is actually fun. It’s why we created the 30 day happiness challenge for our upcoming June TheraBox. Notice though, that we said it’s fun – not easy. Keeping a habit or a consistent practice is never easy, but we know you can do it. Why? Because we can do hard things, and we’ve most definitely accomplished much harder things in the past. Need some examples? How about surviving high school? Man, it’s tough to be a kid trying to figure out high school and the adult responsibilities that are coming to you at full speed certainly doesn’t make the process much easier. You survived four years of that, so what’s four years compared to 30 days? Or how about raising another human being for all the mommies out there? That’s arguably one of the toughest jobs in the world, but you’re doing it every single day! So yes. You can do this fun-but-not-easy 30 day challenge because you deserve to have more joy and self love in your life. Whether you’re already on cloud 9 happy, or need a little pick me up – this 30 day challenge inspired by research in positive psychology is yours for the taking.

Positive psychology (also frequently referred to as the study of happiness) utilizes the scientific method to understand how humans flourish and all the emotionally fulfilling aspects of human behavior. It studies the practices, thoughts, and motivations that best contribute to the “good life”. Lucky for us, it’s been a pretty popular subject to study in our decade and psychologists + neuroscientists have been able to identify certain actions and behaviors that enhance our wellbeing and happiness. *Sending telepathic thanks and showing gratitude to all the psychologists and neuroscientists out there right now because it’ll boost our happiness ;)*

We love linking positive psychology and neuroscience together because they just pair so well jointly. Here’s why: Positive psychology studies teaches us that showing gratitude, volunteering, smiling while cultivating positive thoughts, hugging, and other behavioral practices increase joy. Then, neuroscience comes in and tells us that if we repeat a practice everyday for roughly 21 to 30 days, we will literally rewire our brains to take on that habit. Your brain will actually physically change to accommodate whichever practice you put into place. It is completely up to you whether that practice be a positive or negative habit.

The truth is, whether you like it or not your brain is already wired. That’s just what brains do- they wire themselves up based on our actions and thoughts 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, a lot of us have wired our brains up for self-sabotaging behaviors over the course of our life time due to past trauma or negative experiences we’ve encountered. Thus, the wiring of our brains often look like this: negative self talk, criticism, and unhealthy habits. Of course we don’t mean to do these things to ourselves. I mean, who consciously wants a negative brain? Nonetheless, our brain won’t ever stop being the hard worker that it is, and it will incessantly wire itself every. single. day. Pros and cons to this incessant wiring though, because it means that it is never too late! We can begin rewiring it in a positive manner the same way we’ve been wiring our brains all our life: through our thoughts and practices. So let’s begin with this 30 day challenge filled with positive psychology methods to increase joy and make that habit stick because neuroscience said so 😉

The challenge will officially start July 1, 2017 however it really doesn’t matter when you start. Just start. The reason we have an official date is because all of us here at TheraBox will be participating in it too and we’ll be checking in via our private facebook group. The full list of the 30 days of happiness challenge calender will be included in our upcoming June TheraBox shipping April 26. Thus, you’ll receive it in the mail by July 1st.

Here are a few of the challenges that will be included:

Day 3 – Give out 3 big long hugs.
Neuroeconomist Paul Zak explains the simple act of eight hugs a day can increase internal oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is often known as the “love” hormone or “bliss chemical” and has anti-anxiety effects. Fun fact: High levels of oxytocin have been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship. Yea, remember that honeymoon feeling? You can get that through giving out 8 hugs a day. We’re only asking for 3 big long hugs though, which can also do the trick if they’re big, long hugs!

Day 16 – Smile and send telepathic love to all you see
In a study conducted at Michigan State Univerisity (2011), it was found that people who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts can dramatically and immediately boost their mood. So send those positive thoughts, compassion, and kindness telepathically while smiling to all the strangers and people you come across on Day 16 (and forevermore if you can).

Day 23 – Locate and apply to a volunteer place.
Altruism is not only good for the world, but also good for you. Donating time in a cause you believe in is linked to decreased depression and even a lower risk of early death! Volunteering helps people feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. In a 2012 study, evidence suggests that volunteering has physical health benefits such as lowering your blood pressure and prolonging our lifespan. Double score!

There’s 27 more challenges not listed in this blog post, but all are short and quick ways to boost happiness. We hope you will join us on this challenge. Reserve your June TheraBox today, and join our private facebook group! See you soon!

UPDATE:

Opt in to receive daily reminders in your email & join the 30 day challenge! You do not have to be a subscriber to participate 🙂

April review, May sneak peeks, Bonus gift and more!

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Hello Happiness Junkies!

Today we’re diving into a thorough look at everything inside our April TheraBox, and also a sneak peek into what’s coming up in our May box of happiness! April’s theme was gratitude with a subtle reminder to stop and smell the roses 😉 If you missed out on our sold out April box, have no fear! You can now purchase one time products directly from our site or visit the links below to get yours!

Research shows it takes about 21 days to rewire our brains for change! You can rewire your brain for more joy simply by recalling 3 things you’re thankful for everyday. Based on this philosophy, we thought it fitting to include a Thankful Jar in our first box. The Thankful Jar comes with 30 Gratitude Strips and decorative pieces including twine, crinkle cut paper, and a handmade tag. Our subscribers were encouraged to decorate each jar to their own unique styles, and we received amazingly creative pictures from our happiness junkies!

The Gratitude Jar $5.99 + shipping

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Mindful Mixtures “Peace Out Be Happy” Organic Essential Oil $13.95 + shipping

Photo Credit: Cratejoy

This 100% organic therapeutic grade essential oil blend includes Lavender, Orange, and Bergamot, all of which provide both calming yet uplifting benefits. Lavender and Bergamot both contain a significant percentage of Linalyl acetate. This component encourages balance in the body and reduces stressful feelings while Orange’s uplifting aroma unblocks and circulates stagnant energy!

Laura Botanicals “Cozy” Bath Salts with essential oils $4.00 + shipping

Laura is a registered Aromatherapist and studies botanical perfumery and herbalism in order to provide high quality botanical ingredients in all of her products. Immerse yourself in the aroma of skin nourishing essential oil blends mixed with mineral rich Dead Sea Salts, Pink Himalayan Salts, and Epsom Salts to indulge your mind, body, and spirit!

Stop and Smell the Roses…

Rose Scented Candle. Candle in Tin. Travel Candle. Scented Soy Candle. Soy Wax Candles. All Natural Candle. Soy Candles Handmade.Candle Gift

Rush Candle Company ” I Wish I was Surrounded by Roses” All natural 4oz soy wax candle – $11.00 + shipping

Rush Candle Company proudly hand pours all their natural soy wax candles in small batches. Their wicks are nontoxic and use the finest phthalate free fragrance oils available! Light these wonderful candles without fear, and treat yourself!

Rose and Cedarwood Madder Root and Rose Clay and Essential Oil Soap - 100% All Natural - Rustic Handmade Soap

CM Armstrong 100% Handmade Rose Cedarwood Clay Soap $6.50 + shipping

This 100% all natural soap has no pigments or colorants used, and is made of rose, cedarwood madder root, rose clay, and essential oils. Rose clay is considered a type of kaolin clay and is suitable for dry skin! They’re so pretty, we almost don’t want to use it!

The Happy Shoppe Organic Jasmine Rose Loose Leaf Tea $7.50 free shipping

An aromatic blend of the finest organic loose leaf tea leaves and sun dried rose + jasmine flower buds. Each vial is good for 5 services. This handmade flower infused mix can help alleviate stress, cleanse the body, and leave you feeling happier & healthier! Take a sip and start your day organically!

Cratejoy is my new self-care secret weapon (plus my Bullet Journal).

The Happy Shoppe Stainless Steel Mini Tea House Infuser $9.99 free shipping

This adorable stainless steel tea infuser is the perfect gift for all tea lovers and will put a smile on anyone’s face! Use this in conjunction with the organic test tube teas to brew your perfect cup of tea!

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Happsters Greeting Card $3.50 + shipping

Instagram Happiness Guru @Happsters partnered with TheraBox to create a not yet released card just in time for Mother’s Day! Send this card to a deserving someone with a thoughtful message. Research shows that when we do acts of kindness for others, our own happiness increases! Talk about a win, win situation!

That’s it for our April box of goodies, but we’re not finished yet…. We know you’ve been waiting to see what we have planned for May!

May Sneak Peeks – Theme: All Things Happy

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Your Tea “Happy Tea” Full Size Box, 40 packets – $25.00 + shipping (~$30.00)

All of Your Tea blends, Happy Tea included, are created by a team of qualified Chinese medicine practitioners. Concocting TCM blends require skill and knowledge, all of which is poured into each & every creation. Happy Tea is filled with herbs that boosts emotional wellbeing, to make you feel happier inside and out! Visit their site for more detailed information about how happy tea helps in brightening your mood!

The Happy Shoppe Warrior Semicolon Necklace $15.00 free shipping
Warrior Semicolon Inspirational Necklace

A semicolon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to end the sentence with a period, but chose not to. It symbolizes strength+hope & is a reminder that your story is not over yet; the best is yet to come. The simple yet powerful meaning of the semicolon weaved into the “warrior” in you serves as a wearable tribute to how far you’ve come, and the infinite possibilities of the exciting future.

Happiness Boosting Activity: Happy Pills!

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What’s inside these happy pills and how will they boost your happiness? You’ll find out when your May TheraBox arrives 😉

For a limited time, receive a free bonus gift when you sign up! Use code BONUS at check out. Existing subscribers can receive this bonus gift as well by leaving us a review on facebook and emailing us at info@mytherabox.com when done!

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Knowledge applied is power: How to increase peace and wellbeing using the 2 facts of life


The only guarantee we have in life is change and death. Sounds pretty depressing doesn’t it? If things are always changing, and the only promise we have is death; then life seems quite bleak. That’s certainly one way to look at life, but what if we can use these two facts of life to our advantage and get ahead of the game? Applied knowledge is power, and knowing these two facts of life and applying it to daily life is how we can invoke everyday peace and wellbeing. For example, if we knew it would rain tomorrow, then we’d likely prepare an umbrella to weather the storm. That’s knowledge (knowing it’s going to rain), and it’s powerful because we were able to take action with that knowledge. Our day changed for the better when we utilized the information to our advantage, and we ended up dry and cozy instead of completely drenched. Therefore if we have some pretty valuable knowledge about the universe already, we can strategize ways to withstand the inevitable storms of life and remain nice and dry when the storm hits. Despite the weather conditions outside, we can sustain our inner peace because we’ve prepared ourselves for it. Will it still be chilly and gloomy when the rain strikes? Yes. But at least we’ll be centered and dry 🙂

So how can knowing life’s two facts (death and change) actually help us?! Let’s begin with change. Change is scary, uncomfortable, and knows just how to get straight to the source of all our insecurities. We’ve all been there. Say you’ve always been a straight A student, but then one day you receive a C on a test. The sudden change often triggers all these scary, uncomfortable, and insecure thoughts and you suddenly begin to question every aspect of yourself and wonder if you were ever really a good student to begin with. Despite you doing something right 99% of the time, the one time you receive a criticism it’s like all your years of knowledge and hard work dissipated. When something unfamiliar happens (i.e., changing careers, losing a loved one, taking on a new role) it’s only natural that we begin questioning ourselves and what we know to be true. It’s how we grow, and learn about ourselves and the world around us. Without doubts, questions, and change there would be glory to life. But it isn’t a pretty feeling, and we’ve all wanted the feelings of uncertainty to just go away. Well, it’ll never completely go away (another fact of life, yay!). However, if we can sit with the knowledge that all things change and are temporary; then it can be incredibly liberating. Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘will knowing all things pass really make me feel better? It’s not like I don’t know that already. It just doesn’t really make me feel any better’. Well, let’s examine the truth of this thought.

Have you ever been on a really scary roller coaster ride where you regretted it the moment the safety bars locked? You quickly began wishing you could get off, and just as you were about to tell the operators to let you off- ZOOM and off you went. Now, imagine if you never knew that you were guaranteed to get off and that it was all temporary and would end soon. Imagine if you really thought this was going to go on indefinitely. You’d probably feel 23408 thousand times worse. But instead, you held it together and rode that roller coaster like a champ because you knew (like really, really knew) that in about another 2 minutes and 35 seconds, it would be over. Unconsciously, that made you feel better and saved you from a complete mental breakdown. Sometimes we get sucked into the chaos of it all and forget to take a step back and realize that this too will pass. This feeling, day, week, season, year – it always changes and passes. If we can really know and believe in the fact that all things are temporary, just as we know and believe that we’ll get off that roller coaster eventually; then we can ride the waves of life in a much more gracious manner. True peace is knowing that all things (good and bad) will pass, and that it is okay. If we’re able to cultivate this type of peace, our inner world will remain stable and the external world will have little power in influencing our peace.

But lets be real. It’s hard to keep the peace when our world feels like its being turned upside down and sometimes life gets really hard, so we like to be practical and actionable here at TheraBlog. While we wait for the icky feeling or situation to pass, the best things we can do for ourselves is exactly what we would do on a scary roller coaster ride we want to get off of: Sit with the uncomfortable, scary, and insecure feelings. Breathe. Be patient, and wait for it to pass. Fortunately, knowledge is power, and with power we can take action while waiting for negative season to pass! Just as we prepare for rain with an umbrella, we can prepare for change and uncertainty. If you know that it’s rough right now, or that it’s going to get tough soon, then you can weather it by making a preparation list of items and strategies to utilize during the storm. For example: reach out to support systems, ask for help, reflect in solitude, read a book, do something for yourself and others, travel, meditate, buy TheraBox, etc. 😉

Now let’s move on to the second fact: death. The beauty of our brain is that we can often decide how we want our minds to perceive certain matters. For example: cloud watching. We always want to point out something cool when we’re cloud watching. We know that piece of cloud doesn’t really look like a dragon, but if we adamantly wanted it to be a dragon, we’d find all the evidence in our environment to support it. We’d find a way to configure the shape of that fluffy white cloud into a dragon’s silhouette. How does this relate to death? Well, just as we can influence our minds to transform white puffy clouds into dragons, we can similarly turn beautiful things ugly and ugly things beautiful with power of our minds. We can catastrophize death and think of death as an end all be all (i.e., “if we’re all going to die anyway, then what’s the point?” type of thinking), or we can see death for what it really is. Death in its purest form = the limited amount of time we have here on Earth. With the knowledge that our time here is limited, we can choose how we want to spend our time. There’s going to be 24 hours in a day whether we like it or not. However, the quality of those 24 hours is going to be exactly how we like it to be. Knowing we’re all going to die anyway gives you the permission to be exactly what you’ve always wanted to be, because who cares?! In the end, we all turn into the same dust and ashes. However while we’re still here, we get to be completely creative and unique and that is absolutely beautiful. In your time here on this Earth, there will never be another person that talks/smells/looks/sounds/tastes like you. When you’re dead though, we’ll all decompose into brown nutrients for the earth. So take this time to be that free spirit that you are, because our time is limited and none of us will make it out alive anyway 🙂

I know it’s easier said than done, and it’s difficult to remember them or apply them wholeheartedly. We often wish for a simpler way out of the struggles we face, so at times we don’t like to remember these hard truths. I leave you today with a quote Robert Frost once said: “the best way out is always through”. We must go through change and difficulty to reach the finish line so that we may reflect back and smile at the ways in which we danced in the sunlight and umbrella’d through storms when our limited time calls for us. The upside though, is that there are always tools and resources we can use while we go through the eye of the storm.

 

Detox & Destress in the Tub! (A Korean Bathing Secret to Remove Toxins Fast!)

Here at TheraBlog, we believe in the power of practicality and love action based strategies to improve everyday wellness incorporating the mind, body, soul & spirit! Today we want to share with you a unique form of bathing frequently practiced in Korea and Japan. Warning: it is intense and you will feel as if you just came home from doing an hours worth of Bikram Yoga. You will sweat PROFUSELY within 10 minutes, and witness your toxins seep out from your pores! I have not found a better way to detox, destress, and remove toxins while sitting in one place. This unique bathing strategy is known as “The Half Bath”, or the ban-shin-yok.

Traditionally, bathing has been known to promote blood circulation, decongest lungs/sinuses, induce sleep, and reduce muscle/joint pains. The half bath includes all the benefits of a traditional bath, and takes it up another notch. The half bath aids in the body’s digestive and detoxifying process as it raises your core temperature more than a traditional detox bath; allowing more impurities to be sweated out while burning calories! Residual effects can include improved skin tone, higher metabolism, feelings of relaxation, and a better nights rest. I would highly suggest trying this before bed, because you will feel absolutely exhausted yet relaxed afterwards! If you’re pregnant or have a medical/heart condition, please beware this technique may not be right for you.

WHAT YOU NEED:

These ingredients are optional as you can take a half bath simply with hot water and still sweat profusely. However, these ingredients will heighten the detox process and provide vital nutrients for your skin!

  • Epsom Salt or Sea Salt – Both of these salts are rich in minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which are easily absorbed into your pores and known to cleanse and purify the skin on a molecular level. This improves the skin’s radiance, tone, and texture while detoxifying the body. Epsom salt and sea salt also aid in relieving muscle tension and joint pains. Pour 1 cup into your half bath!
  • Essential oils – Mix a few drops of your favorite calming essential oils such as chamomile, lavender, or eucalyptus into the bath. Essential oils can help moisturize your skin and the aroma will promote relaxation and reduce stress!
  • Half a tub of very warm/hot water up to your belly

HOW TO TAKE A HALF BATH:
korean half bath infographic

  1. Drink a glass of water before you begin – hydration is key as this is pretty intense and you will be sweating loads. Prepare yourself as you would for a workout at the gym, and always keep a glass of water next to the tub!
  2. Fill your bathtub a little under half way with hot water (as hot as you can handle). The key here is that the water should only reach up to your belly button!
  3. Soak the entire lower part of your body (up to your belly) for a maximum of 45 minutes. I’ll be honest, I’ve never lasted past 30 minutes, but I always try to do at least 20 minutes! *important* The entire upper body should remain dry throughout the bath! It’ll be tempting to dip your fingers in the water, or wash off all the sweat but then you won’t get the full effects of the half bath!
  4. You will notice that you’re sweating profusely about 10 minutes in. Stay for only as long as you can handle (max 45 minutes, but I’d recommend 20-30 minutes if you’re just starting out). Don’t oversoak yourself and treat this like a work out – if you overwork your body, you can faint! Be sure to keep hydrated during the bath.
  5. Take a warm/cool shower to wash off all the sweat and drink a glass of water when you’re done!

Happy soaking! We’d love to hear about your experience in trying the half bath, and as a thank you for reading this blog through we’ll tell you a little secret: our next TheraBox includes some pretty awesome all natural bath treats perfect for the half bath 😉