Candlelight

Candlelight is often associated with special occasions- gathering around a birthday cake, enjoying a meal with someone special, or reading a book by the fireplace. To me, there seems to be a sort of beauty of candlelight that is best enjoyed during moments of stillness and solitude, where the rest of the world is turned off for a little while.

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                Religiously, candles are incorporated through ceremonies and acts because it is said the flames soft illumination “touches the soul”. Often people find they can achieve a meditative state more easily by focusing on a candlelight rather than a mandala or mantra. The flame of a candle, to put it simply, is mesmerizing and soothing. “The calming effect of candlelight can be a simple yet sacred tool to help reduce stress and increase self-awareness” (Amstutz). Try to incorporate candles in your daily life and you will, without a doubt, develop a more tranquil state of mind.

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Incorporating candles to various aspects of your daily routine (sometimes during moments you wouldn’t expect) can really make a difference:

  • In the morning or evening: Spend a few moments each day (as soon as you wake up, or just before bedtime) sitting quietly in a space filled with a few candles, sitting quietly. If you sit and focus on the flames, breathe through your nose. “Turn your attention to the meltilng wax and imagine it as tension melting and dripping away (Ranch). You can include other objects that inspire or relax you, such as crystals, seashells, flowers, photographs, etc. that’ll help set the mood as well.
  • In the bathroom: Next time you plan to soak in the tub or take a shower, turn the lights out and turn to candles instead. By combining the stress-relieving activity of relaxing in warm water, with calming candlelight, you’re giving yourself a double dose of relaxation.
  • At work: Work can be very stressful, and lighting a candle on your desk or work space can help free your mind and release some of the stress of your job. Of course, never leave the candle unattended near paperwork or plants (although it may be stressful, you want to keep your job).
  • While exercisingThis is encouraged if you practice yoga, meditation, tai chi, or other similar activities at home. The calming effects can help you relax your mind and body, allowing for deeper stretches and better concentration. Sitting quietly or lying down in a candle lit room is a great way to unwind after an intense workout.

Look to my previous post for some scent ideas when picking out candles to further induce a calm state.

Sources:

http://www.mrwallpaper.com/wallpapers/Beach-Candlelight-Dinner.jpg

http://www.desktopaper.com/wp-content/uploads/simple-christmas-candlelight-hd-iphone-wallpaper.jpg

http://www.canyonranch.com/your-health/whole-beauty/nurture-yourself/your-home-spa/the-calming-effects-candlelight

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Calming Scents

Believe it or not, there are many scents that contribute to a calm state of being, and help de-stress your system. After a long day, all you want to do is curl up in blankets and relax. You can help to further your relaxation by surrounding yourself with certain scents. Also, the more natural the scent, the more beneficial it will be for you. Many scents (lotions, candles, etc) have added chemicals inside that can harm your body.

One of my favorite scents, coconut, has not only a tendency to calm you down, but according to scientific research, it also slows your heart rate and reduces your blood pressure.  For me, the coconut scent reminds me of summer and the ocean so that in itself makes me feel relaxed. I typically burn coconut candles in my room, which keeps it smelling good all the time, and it instantly makes me feel more comfortable and calm. It is by far my favorite scent 🙂

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Floral scents, such as rose, jasmine, geranium, and lotus, are very useful when it comes to de-stressing. The spleen, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the body part that is the most affected by stress (each major organs corresponds to a scent), so by surrounding yourself with floral scents you are targeting the spleen and reducing your stress level.

Lavender is a very common scent that is used by many people. Lavender, actually, is used best just before sleep. I have come across many sprays that you can spray on your pillow before you head to bed, that  help calm you down and allow you to sleep easier. I have one that I use frequently, typically if I have a stressful day, and it’s calming to know that with each breath I take i’m filled with a refreshing and cooling scent of lavender, and I do believe it helps me fall asleep faster. Lavender has also proven to treat sore muscles, breathing problems, and hair care. By having lavender on my pillow at night i’m not only helping myself de-stress but I am providing my body with other benefits as well!

You probably know that drinking tea is good for your digestive system and soothing anxiety, but it might surprise you that just the smell of Chamomile tea is “good on its own for inducing a calm state” (Richard Lobbenburg). Chamomile is known to reduce cortisol levels, which are the levels that rise when you are in a stressful situation. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and it will help reduce some of the pain that might be causing you stress. I personally try to drink a cup of tea every night, and if it’s late at night, I drink chamomile tea rather than other kinds, because it is one of the most calming and is beneficial before I go to sleep.

Lastly, sandalwood is said to be the “King of Calm”. It has long been used to assist with meditation. It has a warm, woody scent, and has been used in Traditional Chinese medicines for disorders associated with the nervous system, depression, and anxiety. Not only that, but it is great for your skin, so when used in body lotion or shampoo, it provides your body with extra benefits! If you love more “nature-y” scents, this is definitely the one for you.

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Souces:

http://img0.etsystatic.com/013/0/5871900/il_340x270.431235240_k7ya.jpg

http://yellowgazeboclinic.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/5-calming-scents/

http://www.westshorewellness.com/paraffin%20Plus%20Body%20Glaze.jpg

http://eatlikeagoddess.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Coconut2.jpg