Om? Hell No. How to Go Beyond Meditation To Chill Out

If sitting in silence makes you twitch, we’ve got some ideas for you.

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Stress. It’s been known to cause rapid breathing, an increased heart rate, acid reflux, nausea, irregular menstrual cycles, sleep issues, and even painful periods. In short, it’s a mother and eight in 10 Americans report suffering from it, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. If you’re like us, you’ve likely tried to combat stress with some sort of meditation technique. After all, meditation is one of the wellness industry’s biggest trends. That’s not surprising; it’s extremely effective. But what if sitting in quiet room is just too boring to bear? That’s where we come in. Over the next few weeks, starting on Jan. 1, Refinery29 is exploring four fun, engaging, and active ways to decompress and beat stress. (OK, one isn’t exactly a stress-reliever, but it’s fun as hell.) That’s right, no more oms.
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From anger rooms, where you break things, and art therapy, where you create things, to sound baths and floating, we’re doing a deep dive on these methods and exploring the research on why they might work at combating stress. We’ve spoken to psychiatrists, therapists, and the creative founders of these studios to discover the philosophies behind each practice, why some people find them helpful, and whether or not you should try them at home.
Stress can wreak all kinds of havoc on our lives. “Our body is equipped with a ‘fight or flight’ system to handle danger and stressors as they present,” says E. Blake Zakarin, PhD, assistant professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia University. “This is adaptive and can be helpful for responding to acute stress, such as in an emergency or in urgent situations. However, when our systems are constantly stressed, and our stress response system is constantly firing, it can wear on our brain and body.”
So as you take stock of your priorities in the new year, take a second to evaluate how stressed or anxious you feel. If you think you could shed some tension from your life, we hope one of our out-of-the-box ideas works for you.
You only have one life to live. We don’t believe you should spend it stressed out.
Beyond Meditation is part of Clean Slate, Refinery29’s 21-day course filled with new ways to think about food, exercise, and stress relief. Sign up here to get nutritious recipes, fun physical activities, and some suggestions to beat stress that don’t require meditation.

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