Posts Tagged ‘stress relief’

It’s medicinal! It’s decorative! It’s SUPERMAN! Actually, it’s art therapy. But it’s pretty cool. Art therapy is more than just painting or drawing. It is a way for anyone, young or old, to express themselves more openly and meaningfully than they might otherwise be able to. The basic idea is to provide a person the opportunity to channel his or her restlessness or negativity through the construction of something positive, with the belief that inside of everyone there dwells some unique potential for creativity. The benefits of art therapy are significant. When one creates, a sense of fulfillment, self actualization and empowerment are the result. And, as mentioned before, it is a useful tool for expression, more accessible to some than words. Art therapy is especially helpful with children, as they have a limited vocabulary and may not feel comfortable expressing themselves in words. One common exercise is to have rivaling siblings draw their own perfect museum, and what it would contain. This way, the therapist can find not only the source of their differences, but also what they may have in common, and build on that. Here in our home town, Andrea Kamm is an experienced artist and board certified family and couples therapist. She has worked in mental health for 25 years. She and her husband Bob are co-founders of the San Luis Relationship Institute, located at 1023 Nipomo Street. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, anxiety, depression or any other form of mental or emotional hurdles, you may want to draw on the Kamms for guidance. Now that the holidays are over, I’m sure we could all use a little relief. I prefer retail therapy, personally. Come in and see us if you do too. Or join us for Art After Dark beginning in February, and get the best of both worlds.

So, it’s that time of year once again. For some, the rain, the holidays, and the cold, are all part of the festive nature of fall and winter. However, for others, this time of year can mean stress and winter doldrums. Being that everyone wants to eat more this time of year, I thought it might be appropriate to find out which foods can reduce stress levels, and lift spirits, keeping you chill through the chill. Here are nine cortisol controlling yum yums.

Agent Oranges: a great cortisol fighter and an immune system booster. The high vitamin C content in an orange can bring blood pressure and cortisol levels back to normal in a stressful situation, as well as fight off bugs that wear down your defenses. How sweet it is: Often we crave sweets when under duress, but sugary snacks and simple carbs can only serve to make our stress levels worse (much like drinking water after eating spicy food) Sweet Potatoes, however, can curb that sugar craving and give you long lasting, fiber full energy. Additionally, they are high in beta-carotene, amongst other vitamins, to help keep your brain sharp and functioning under pressure. Apricots to the rescue: Apricots are rich in magnesium, which is a natural stress buster and muscle relaxant. Now that’s just nutty: Almonds are rich in E and B vitamins, boosting your immune system. Walnuts and Pistachios, like oranges, can lower your blood pressure, leaving you calm, cool and collected. Gobble: Up the turkey, because the main amino acid in that Thanksgiving bird, l-Tryptophan, has been proven to produce Serotonin in the brain, leaving you relaxed, and even sleepy. (If only people had just eaten turkey instead of taking ludes.) “I’m strong to the finish!”: Spinach, like apricots, contains a significant source of Magnesium (up to 40 percent of your daily dose in one cup!) Bluto, take note. There’s a cure for those explosive outbursts. Something’s fishy: Salmon, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, is not only good for the brain and the heart. This sea faring creature will keep adrenaline and stress levels from peaking when, say, you can’t seem to find that parking spot, or the girl at the counter has just gotten your order wrong for the third time (seriously, what does she get paid for?) It’s a fruit! It’s a fat! It’s a… stress reliever? Avocados are high in potassium, the consumption of which, according to the National Heart, lung, and Blood Institute (how official) can significantly lower your blood pressure. Delicious and nutritious. Good for, well, everything: Is there anything green veggies CAN’T do for you? Well, maybe they can’t give you the power to levitate, or make you an omnipotent being, but they can, in addition to bettering your digestive health, improving the efficiency of your brain, giving you longer lasting energy, healthier skin, hair and nails, and curing anemia, replace vitamins lost during times of stress, and boost your immune system. Seriously folks, eat your kale and your broccoli.

In addition to eating these nine super foods on a regular basis, it is important to get enough sleep, water, regular exercise and laughter in order to keep your cool and get through your day. Avoid caffeine and sugar, as these can throw your blood sugar off balance, leaving your reasoning skills compromised. Find some alone time and read a book or write a book! Chill out and enjoy the season! Since it’s getting colder, come in and get some winter wear from Dreamsacks to curl up in. Fun facts provided by

Song of the day “By Myself” by the Susie Arioli Swing Band.

Bonus Video: Don’t Tase Me Bro.