Cut Out Stress Fast with These 6 Tips
By Debra Rodzinak
Stress. It’s a part of our lives, every day, sometimes every hour. Finding ways to relax is crucial in maintaining overall optimal health. Try these six relaxation techniques next time you feel stressed or need to relax.
Just a few minutes a day of meditation can alter the brain’s neural pathways which can lead to an overall feeling of less stress. Sitting up with both feet on the floor, close the eyes and focus all of your attention on repeating a positive phrase such as “I love myself” or “overall peace.” While repeating, place your hand on your stomach to monitor the breaths. As stressful thoughts creep back in, imagine that they are put on a cloud that slowly floats away.
Find just five minutes to focus on breathing. Sit up and place a hand on the stomach. Close the eyes. Breathe in slowly through the nose starting with filling the abdomen and filling the lungs from the bottom up. Controlling the breath, exhale through the mouth. Controlled deep breathing has been found to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Stop whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes to be aware of your surroundings. Go outside and focus on how the sun feels on your skin, or how the wind sounds and feels blowing across your hair. Take off your shoes and feel the soft grass on your bare feet. Taking time to be in the moment allows your senses to refocus, which reduces tension.
Find a good friend, turn off all electronic devices and have a face to face conversation. The simple act of talking to someone without the constant distractions of a smartphone or other device allows you to gain a new or different perspective on a problem, laugh about a situation, or connect on a deeper level with another human being.
Listen to Your Body
Close your eyes and begin with the head. Be aware of any tension in the neck, eyes, or temples that may cause a headache. Focus on the back and shoulders. Finish with the lower back, hands, and legs. If stress is being carried in a particular part of the body, try a quick massage or schedule a full hour with a professional.
A good, hearty laugh not only feels good, but it lowers cortisol, boosts endorphins in the brain, and lifts the mood. Whatever makes you laugh—a TV show, a funny website, or a comical friend—lighten your load with a laugh.