By Visit Ventura
Let’s be honest. These are nerve-rending times. It’s important to be informed, but it’s also important to not be obsessed. It’s okay to step away and think of you.
It’s okay to take a break for a bit. In fact, it’s recommended.
And we Venturans, we have so much perfect therapy.
The solace of sky, sea, and emptiness. Subtle reminders. Be thankful for day’s beginning, as the sun pulls free of the horizon, ladling soft light on frond, sand and silken waters. Be thankful for day’s end as the sun slips behind hummocked Santa Cruz Island. Night merits a nod of thanks too, the stars winking reminder.
This will always be here.
And don’t worry, by taking a break, you’ll still be accomplishing something. Actually, a great deal. It sounds trite, but it’s true. Do something for yourself and you’ll be a better you. And a better you makes for a better us. A better world in our homes. A better world in our town. A better world in our world.
And so, we offer a few ways to make your/our world better…
Simple step aways can made a huge difference, and one of the best — and simplest — is to simply get out and move. Heaps of science has proven that exercise eases anxiety, depression and stress. Nor does this exercise require any fancy equipment. Interestingly, science has shown that some of the best anxiety reducers (and health promoters) are what exercise physiologists call “the rhythmic exercises.” You know them as running, swimming, cycling and walking. They get your blood pumping in the major muscle groups. They increase blood circulation to the brain, helping control motivation, mood and response to stress. And yep, there are those exercise-released endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones. And, maybe the biggest stress reducer, this exercise, it doesn’t have to be a lot. Science shows that 15 to 30 minutes at least three times a week is enough to, well, in layman’s terms, just make you feel better about being here.
Happy tie in, exercise also makes it easier to sleep — and, proven science again, a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to ease stress. And though many of us approach sleep with a sense of joy, in our 24/7 day and age, we don’t always approach it with common sense. Science has shown you need to prep for sleep, and you should start that prep an hour before bed. Turn off the news. Put your phone and your computer in another room. Read a book. Listen to relaxing music. Meditate. The latter doesn’t have to be fancy either. Meditation can be a lifelong practice and art — and, yes, the better you get, the greater the benefits. But, according to one expert, the soothing effects of meditation can be garnered by a simple act. Take a long moment and simply think of someone in your life who has done something kind for you. Ruminate on that. A minute or two will do (though longer feels better). Again, science has measured this as profoundly relaxing. And psychology has shown that it can foster optimism. A powerful tool in any time.
And, regarding sleep, Ventura provides an ace in the hole. Caressed by sleepy sea breezes you can actually hear, Ventura offers a far dozier mattress than Big City’s din.
And a last simple thing. Breathe deep. Deep, slow breaths can perform a simple calming miracle (and actually change your brainwaves). Recent research has focused on inhaling for six seconds and exhaling for six seconds for a short period of time; focusing on belly breathing. Try it. And this may be the most important benefit — the simple act of taking your mind off whatever is bothering you and focusing on those deep breaths shows that you choose. To maybe try to make things better.
So walk away from the noise and turmoil. Up to Grant Park. To a secluded beach. To the ocean’s edge or out on to the ocean itself. To a little yoga on your private grassy Arroyo Verde Park patch beneath your own whispering pine (yoga’s flowing movements — coupled with changes in mental focus, breathing, coordination and relaxation — are a superb stress reducer). Don’t leave the world behind for good — but leave it behind for long enough to do yourself some good. And come back better.
There’s no real science behind it. But sometimes the quieter you are, the more things come into view.
And beautiful places, they remind us.
Good things always outlast the dark.