ESP’s Wellbeing columnist Karen Devine says there’s a simple way to ease our stress and create calm. It’s time to ease back and ‘rock on’…
Right now things are definitely pretty stressful with many people struggling with the impact of coronavirus, many living in fear, isolation and worry. All this can lead to a decline in our mental and physical health. Whilst there are many ways to help ourselves, such as our diet, hydration, supplementation, exercise, and getting out in nature, there’s one pastime that’s been forgotten and it’s one that puts me into a ‘Zen’ state and that is… ROCKING.
I love nothing more than sitting in my garden swing or inside in a rocking chair. It was one of those moments when an hour just melted away like butter in the hot sun and I felt so relaxed that I decided to look further into the benefits and found that the motion of rocking in a chair, hammock or garden swing offers so many positive outcomes for our health – and it wasn’t me just being lazy!
The rocking motion can help to switch our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) on, this is the system that is calming for our body, it relaxes blood vessels so allows blood to flow to support brain health and deliver more oxygen.
It improves nutrient delivery to the cells, aids digestion, reduces anxiety and stress levels and can help our sleep – we all need that at the moment that’s for sure!
Forget images of Gran and her knitting – using a rocking chair, hammock or garden swing can help with lowering stress hormones, switching off the sympathetic fight or flight system over to the PNS (the more calming side of our nervous system).
I read that when John F Kennedy (JFK) was younger he suffered with lingering back pain from a war injury, he was prescribed a rocking chair to sit in and rock daily as therapy which eased his pain. Apparently he even took one with him onboard Air Force 1 and to Camp David so he never missed a day of his therapy.
We naturally rock a baby to sleep without realising that we as adults have never grown out of the need and comfort the rocking motion can bring us. The calming, rhythmic motion of a swinging or rocking chair can benefit us all at any age, not just the elderly or young.
This simple motion can help release endorphins and other positive chemicals so why not invest in a new swing chair for the garden or a rocking chair for the house and enjoy its therapeutic benefits – bliss!
Read more from Karen on www.karendevine.co.uk