62 Ways to Feel Great Naturally


These gems work like magic to make you calmer, happier, and more energetic.
1 Double Your Laughs

“A 1998 study showed that the average toddler laughs 400 times a day, but the average American adult only laughs 15 times a day,” says Martha Beck, Ph.D., a Phoenix-based life coach and author of The Joy Diet (Three Rivers Press, 2003). That's a shame because laughter relaxes your muscles, boosts immunity, and may even extend your life. So aim to laugh at least 30 times a day. To help, stash a joke book in your desk drawer.
2 Tap Away Tension

Lightly tap your scalp with your knuckles for 10 seconds, taking slow, deep breaths as you tap. Silly as it seems, this softens tense muscles in your head and neck and builds your energy, says Elaine Gavalas, exercise physiologist in New York City and author of The Toga Minibook for Stress Relief (Simon & Schuster, 2003).
3 Tote Around Healthy Fuel

Keep small bags of nuts and dried fruit (like cashews and tart cherries or walnuts and dates) in your purse. The healthy fats and fiber in this snack will sustain you longer than a sugary candy bar.
4 Give Thanks

Every time you eat (whether it's a snack or a seven-course meal), say grace. Silently ask the universe or a higher power to infuse your food with the nourishment you need, and express gratitude for the food. You'll eat more mindfully and enjoy your food more.
5 Tell Your Pet Your Troubles

Time spent with animals can ease your stress. In fact, a 2002 study in Psychosomatic Medicine found that married pet owners were less likely to perceive events as stressful than couples without pets.
6 Inhale Energy

Perk up by placing a drop of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil on one of your palms. Rub your hands together, cup your hands over your nose, and breathe deeply.
7 Create Joy with Feasts

Aim to have three feasts every day, life coach Beck says. A “feast” isn't necessarily food; it's anything that nourishes you physically or emotionally: a stunning sunset, a succulent fruit salad, or an evening spent with good friends.
8 Take a Power Shower

End your morning shower with a 30-second blast of cool water. You may shiver a little, but the temperature change improves blood flow and gives you a burst of energy.
9 Steep Basil Tea

To relax in minutes, place three washed fresh basil leaves (Ocimum basilicum) in a cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes, inhaling the aroma, and then sip the tea slowly. Herbalists know basil is one of nature's most effective calmatives, yet it's often overlooked because it's such a commonly used kitchen spice.
10 Soothe Your Shoulders

Drape an herb- and grain-filled shoulder pillow around your neck. The weight of these fragrant U-shaped pillows relaxes hunched shoulders, relieving muscle tension, says Meg Jordan, Ph.D., R.N., a health journalist in Alameda, Calif. Try the Shoulder Trigger-point Pillow from Mother Earth Designs ($40; 800-344-2072; www.motherearthpillows.com).
11 Rely on Flowers for Focus

When you need to concentrate, reach for Indian pink (Silene californica) and impatiens (Impatiens glandulifera) flower essences, which are made by a process that includes steeping fresh flowers in water. You'll find them in natural food stores. Take 4 drops each, under your tongue, four times daily.
12 Get a Boost from Bananas

This favorite fruit contains norepinephrine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that support your mood.
13 Try This Calming Breath

Close your eyes and cover your right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale all the air from your lungs through your left nostril, and then inhale through the same nostril for four counts. Next, keep your right nostril closed with your thumb and use your right ring finger to close your left nostril; hold for four counts. Lift your thumb and exhale slowly through your right nostril for eight counts. Now inhale through your right nostril for four counts and use your thumb to close your right nostril for four counts. Lift your ring finger. Repeat five times.
14 Sleep Deep with Scents

Place 1 or 2 drops of clary sage essential oil (Salvia sclarea) inside your pajama shirt collar or pillowcase. This calming scent induces restful sleep, says Teshan Laucirica, an aromatherapist at the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy in Seattle.
15 Sigh Away Stress

When you're frazzled, take a deep breath in through your nose to expand your belly, and then exhale through your mouth with a long, mind-clearing “Ahhhh” sound.
16 Shed Your Shoes

Take a short stroll in your bare feet through dewy grass. This fatigue-buster also helps you feel more grounded.
17 Throw Away Your Fear

If you feel anxious, use a pen and paper to list your specific worries. Once you have them out of your head and on paper, toss the list in the trash.
18 Become a Morning Person

To wake up feeling fresh and alert, try morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) and self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) flower essences, says Patricia Kaminski of the Flower Essence Society in Nevada City, Calif. You'll find these remedies, made by a process that includes steeping fresh flowers in water, in most natural food stores. Place 4 drops of each under your tongue before bedtime and as soon as you wake up.
19 Munch Berries

Dried schisandra berries (Schisandra chinensis) relax you fast when you're stressed, says naturopath Letitia Cain, N.D., resident at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, a clinic in Seattle. Find them at natural food stores; chew 1 teaspoon twice a day. Skip schisandra berries if you're pregnant.
20 Stay Hydrated

To keep fatigue at bay, drink four to six 8-ounce glasses of filtered water a day. Drink even more if you're exercising strenuously or sweating.
21 sample Something New

Taste star fruit or another food you've never eaten before. Try a new exercise class. Making little changes wipes away mental cobwebs and gets your energy flowing, says Mira Kirshenbaum, clinical director of the Chestnut Hill Institute, a therapy center in Boston, and author of The Emotional Energy Factor (Delacorte Press, 2003).
22 Ax Stress with Your Fingertips

To ease stress, pinch the bottom of one of your earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Maintain the pressure for two minutes, breathing deeply. Repeat on the other ear.
23 Munch a Brazil Nut

Just one contains your recommended daily allowance of selenium (50 to 100 mcg), a mineral that may prevent depression.
24 Perform a Kind Act

Allow another motorist into traffic in front of you or run an errand for an elderly neighbor. Small generosities like these give both the doer and the receiver a little lift.
25 Sip a Cup of Calm

Unwind with this treat. Pour ½ cup of boiling water over a bag of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita), steep for 10 minutes, remove the bag, and add ½ cup of warm almond milk, says Phoebe Yin, N.D., a naturopath and resident at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, a clinic in Seattle. “Chamomile is relaxing, and almond milk contains L-tryptophan, which helps with relaxation and mood stability,” she says. Skip this drink if you are pregnant.
26 Just Do Something

Immobility saps your energy, but taking action empowers and recharges you. “When you feel yourself haunted by worry, fear, and frustration, don't think of the best thing to do. Just think of a good thing to do, and then do it,” says therapist Kirshenbaum.
27 Imagine a Fantasy Getaway

Take 10 minutes to fantasize about a vacation you'd love to take. Close your eyes and consider all the details: your anticipation as you step off the plane, what you'll wear, who you'll share it with. Retreat to this image when you need a break.
28 Visualize a Waterfall

When you're feeling overwhelmed, picture yourself entering a cave behind a thundering waterfall, says life coach Beck. Imagine that your thoughts and worries have been magically moved to the falling water. From the safety of the cave, feel the water's cool spray and “watch the contents of your mind thunder past you,” she says. Separating yourself from your thoughts and worries calms you.
29 Draw a Citrus Bath

To lift your mood when you're feeling blue, add 4 drops of lemon (Citrus x limon), 3 drops of grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi), and 3 drops of peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oils to a small glass. Draw a warm bath and as you fill the tub, add this oil blend. Soak for 15 minutes.
30 Eat Fish

Prepare salmon, sardines, or other cold-water fish two or three times a week. They contain omega-3 fats, which keep your moods stable. A 2001 Finnish study found that fish-eaters are less likely to be depressed.
31 Relish Coming Home

Whenever you return home, stand in front of your door and appreciate the moment of your arrival. Take a deep breath to mark the fact that you're back. Savoring this moment can lift your mood.
32 Hit the Bricks

Research shows that brisk five to 10-minute walks work miracles, says Robert Thayer, Ph.D., psychology professor at California State University at Long Beach. “Just 10 minutes raises energy levels for up to two hours and reduces tension for up to an hour,” he says.
33 Bean up Your Next Meal

Studies show that depressed people often lack B vitamins. Beans deliver a significant dose of these vitamins. Try pinto beans with rice, chickpea hummus on pita bread, or a black bean soup.
34 Defeat Tension Headaches

At the first sign of pain, place 4 drops each of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) flower essences on your fingertips and rub them on your temples and the insides of your wrists. Made by a process that includes steeping fresh flowers in water, flower essences are sold in some natural food stores. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
35 Drink a Dose of Energy

Drink 1 or 2 cups of American ginseng tea (Panax quinquefolius) a day, Yin says. As an adaptogen, this remarkable herb gives you what you need: If you're fatigued, it gives you energy; if you're wired, it calms you down. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over a tea bag and steep, covered, for 15 minutes. You'll notice some effects immediately, but it takes several weeks to get the full benefits. You can drink it daily for a long time, but skip it if you're pregnant or have a serious illness like cancer.
36 Perfume Your Home with Blooms

Place fragrant flowers (like roses and lilacs) in a vase about a foot behind an oscillating fan. These summery scents will waft through your house, lifting your spirits.
37 Fortify with Fruit

Try this Austrian remedy for mental fatigue: Chop a washed, cored apple into small pieces. Place them in a bowl and add 2 cups of boiling water. Let the bowl sit for one hour. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and stir. Eat the apple and then sip the leftover liquid.
38 Keep Good Chocolate on Hand

Treat yourself to about an ounce of high-quality dark chocolate every day. Always sit down and eat it slowly, relishing each mouthful. Note the chocolate's texture, flavor, and aroma. Think of this luxurious little ritual as a restorative minivacation.
39 Bring the Ocean Home

An ocean swim makes you feel good because the minerals in seawater flush lactic acid from your muscles, easing soreness and tension. Recreate this effect in your bathtub by adding 1 cup of sea salts or Epsom salts as you fill the tub. Play an ocean surf CD as you soak.
40 unwind Your Mind Naturally

To release tension in your mind and muscles, lie on the floor or your bed with your arms at your sides and your feet slightly apart. Inhale and exhale as you tense and release your muscles one at a time, starting with your toes and moving up your body to the top of your head.
41 Picture Yourself Powerful

Next time you're about to tackle an exhausting task, visualize yourself doing it as if you were feeling sharp and supercharged. Make the image detailed; your mind can stimulate your body to feel a certain way.
42 Iron Out Your Diet

Iron deficiency often triggers fatigue among menstruating women. Fight it by eating iron-rich foods like black beans and pumpkin seeds. To improve absorption, combine them with foods rich in vitamin C, like red bell peppers.
43 Get Out

Spend some time outdoors every day, advises naturopath Cain. You don't have to go outside for long. Just take 10 minutes to breathe fresh air, check the weather, and listen to the birds. Contact with nature can rejuvenate you.
44 Tame Tension with a Scalp Massage

Before you step into the shower, use your fingertips to apply firm pressure in small circles to your scalp for at least three minutes.
45 Keep in Touch with Loved Ones

Make an effort to connect with friends and family. You'll be happier if you develop loving, supportive relationships.
46 Maintain a Gratitude Journal

Each night before bed, jot down three ways you are blessed: Maybe the first tender shoots appeared in your garden or you prepared a tasty, nutritious meal. You'll sleep well if you head to bed on a positive note.
47 Meditate Daily

Do it for just five to 10 minutes a day. Try it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. (For meditation instructions, see “How to Get Instant Calm,” page 53.) This powerful practice gives your mind and body a break from the day-to-day problems that can depress your mood.
48 Listen to Your Gut

If your stomach growls hungrily, pay attention. Eat a snack or meal. The longer you wait to eat, the more likely you are to suffer a blood sugar slump that could wreck your mood and motivation.
49 Recite a Mind-Clearing Mantra

When you find yourself rehashing old problems, close your eyes and whisper: “Let go, let go, let go.”
50 Spritz a Pick-Me-Up

Beat the 3 p.m. slump with a flower essence spray. Combine 4 drops each of peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and lemon (Citrus x limon) essential oils in a 4-ounce spray bottle filled to the top with fresh filtered water. (To order a bottle this size for 83 cents, call 206-340-0459 or visit www.specialtybottle.com.) Add 6 drops each of nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), and peppermint flower essences. Lightly mist around your face and inhale.
51 Make a Me-Time Jar

On small slips of paper, jot down your favorite stress-busting activities that take 30 minutes or less: reading a magazine, browsing at an antique shop, soaking in the tub, and so on. Put the slips in a jar. Draw at least one activity a week and do it.
52 Find Peace with Passion Flower

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) relieves stress and anxiety and promotes sound sleep. Steep 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink up to 2 cups after dinner.
53 Melt Your J Muscles

When you re in a bad mood, your muscles tense. Counter crankiness with a steamy 10-minute shower. As your muscles loosen up so will your attitude.
54 Spice Up Your Mood and Food

According to folk wisdom, oregano (Origanum vulgare) relieves heavy-hearted feelings. Give your spirits and and tastebuds a pick-me-up by adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried herb to a saucepan of tomato sauce before you toss it with pasta.
55 Hang Your Head

Rejuvenate with a forward bend, an easy yoga pose. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Fold forward so your torso pours out of your legs like a waterfall. Let your head and arms hang toward the floor. Take three deep breaths, and then slowly lift your torso to an upright position.
56 Get Sassy

In the shower, place a handful of moistened Epsom salts on your washcloth and gently rub your arms legs, and torso. The salts wake UP your body by stimulating circulation.
57 Charm Yourself with a Chime

The sound of a wind chime actually slows your breathing and heart rate, making you feel mellow, says health writer M.J. Ryan of Walnut Creek, Calif., author of The Power of Patience (Broadway Books, 2003).
58 Chow Down at Lunch

To beat mid-afternoon drowsiness, make lunch your main meal, and eat it away from your desk, says Jennifer Workman, R.D., a sports nutritionist in Boulder, Colo., who specializes in Ayurveda, and author of Stop Your Cravings (The Free Press, 2003). Choose foods with a variety of bold flavors (like salty, savory miso soup with tangy salmon teriyaki or a spicy bean burrito with salsa). Emphasize vegetables, beans, nuts, chicken, or fish, and go light on simple carbohydrates like white bread or white rice. End with a healthy sweet (like a small piece of dark chocolate or candied ginger). Follow this advice and Workman promises that you'll be more productive after lunch.
59 Look on the Bright Side

Studies of people who live past 100 show that they tend to see life in a positive light. If you find yourself fretting about a future event, take five minutes to imagine that it will have a positive outcome.
60 Recharge with a Yoga Foot Massage

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms up, your knees bent, and your bare feet flat on the floor. Keeping your knees off the ground, press the soles of your feet together and rub them briskly against each other for 60 seconds. You'll be surprised by how well it invigorates you.
61 Take Time Out

Wear a watch with an alarm or keep a timer on your desk. Set it to go off once an hour. When it beeps, stop your task, take a deep breath, and stretch any tight spots. Lack of movement creates fatigue, but brief breaks keep you clear-headed.
62 Show Yourself Some Love

When you find yourself dwelling on mistakes, make an esteem-boosting list of the good things you do, like “I recycle,” “I take a multivitamin,” or “I smile at cashiers.”



By Amy Rapaport Karlson, is a freelance writer in Barringtob, R.I.

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