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Epsom Salt Bath Makes You Less Anxious

Epsom Salt Bath Makes You Less Anxious

Anxiety is a natural human emotion. It’s usually caused by our mind entering the ‘fight or flight’ response when situations occur. For some, it can be a fleeting feeling felt when big changes occur in our lives such as starting a new job, speaking in public or getting married. But for others, it can be a daily ongoing mix of fear, worry, and uneasiness. The constant nervousness and inner turmoil can be uncomfortable and tiring. Sleep patterns can become disturbed and concentration wanes. In terms of the mind, it does not only deplete our happiness but it can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, muscle aches and tension. There are many ways to cope with anxiety issues but daily relaxation techniques can help calm the inner turmoil, help you sleep better and give you a greater peace of mind. Many people suggest taking a bath using Epsom salt as it is known to relieve symptoms of anxiety and actually improve our mood. But what is Epsom salt and how does it work?

How Is Epsom Salt Different To Other Salt?

Epsom Salt is not like sea salt or regular table salt. Although the crystal structure looks similar, Epsom salt is a mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulphate unlike other salts that are almost entirely made up of sodium chloride. Another huge difference is that sea salt, when left on the skin, will dry it out pretty quickly and leave a residue whereas Epsom salt actually rinses off and leaves the skin soft. So because of its specific structural composition, the way Epsom salts work are greatly different to other salts and the benefits are far greater.

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How Epsom Salt Baths Work – The Science

Mention an Epsom salt bath to anyone and they will probably conjure up thoughts of a hot, steaming bath – a welcome delight at the end of a hard, stressful day. But an Epsom salt bath is actually unlike a normal one. Remember the magnesium that makes up most of its compound? Well it’s this that gives you the great health benefits that can relieve anxiety issues. When we’re feeling stressed, our magnesium levels are decreased and depleted. Magnesium is a mineral that is important in the production of serotonin – the feel-good hormone – so less magnesium equals less serotonin. Serotonin is crucial for enhancing our mood and sense of wellbeing so without it, anxiety attacks can seem worse and prolonged.

A study, conducted by researchers at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, showed that a certain amount of magnesium in Epsom salt is readily absorbed through the skin. They studied a group of participants before and after being immersed in a bath with dissolved Epsom salt and found that their magnesium levels had risen without any adverse effects. Therefore using Epsom bath salts is an effective, yet-gentle, way to raise magnesium levels without taking supplements.

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How To Make Your Own Epsom Bath Salt

There are many ready-made Epsom salt products in stores but they can prove costly. Plain Epsom salt usually comes in bigger packs and is more economical. But why not try making your own? It’s actually very easy and fun to do and you can make your own varieties. All you need is:

  • 1/2 cup of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • A small cup or bowl
  • Food colouring (optional)

What to do:

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  1. Boil the water and stir in the 1/2 cup of Epsom salt for around a minute in the cup or bowl. This creates a saturated solution, meaning no more salt can dissolve in the water. (Some undissolved crystals will be at the bottom of the glass.)
  2. Choose a food colouring and add a couple of drops to give them a nice vibrant colour. (optional)
  3. Place the cup or bowl in the refrigerator straight away as the solution needs to be cooled down rapidly.
  4. After a few hours, check it to see the cup full of crystals. Pour off any remaining solution.

Your end result should see small, thin, and numerous crystals which you can add to your bath. Although you can create a scent-less bath salt mixture, adding essential oils creates a calming atmosphere when you take your bath and will help you to relax a bit more. Just combine your favourite essential oil and leave it to infuse in the cup or bowl before adding it to your bath.

How To Use Epsom Bath Salt

The ideal concentration for using Epsom salt baths to raise magnesium status, according to the study, is approximately 500 grams, or 2 cups, of Epsom salt dissolved in 15 gallons of water – the amount that can fit in a standard-sized bathtub. Ideal amount of time spent soaking is 10-20 minutes, two to three times per week.

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While an Epsom salt bath is generally a safe and gentle way to raise magnesium levels, it is good to check with your doctor before using it to treat any medical conditions or using it while pregnant.

Featured photo credit: Matt_Weibo via flickr.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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