3 Quick Ways to Blow Off Stress
By Sandy Schroeder
Stress really is all around us. Seventy-seven percent of Americans feel one of these symptoms regularly: headaches, upset stomach, fatigue, loss or increase of appetite, changes in sex drive, or teeth grinding during sleep, according to the American Psychological Association. Seventy-three percent say they feel anger, nervousness, irritability, or loss of energy.
We all need to find ways to quickly reduce this life-changing tension. When you take a break from stress you may quickly reverse the negative effects, lowering blood pressure and avoiding heart attacks and stroke.
Start with Your Breath
Begin with your breath. Learning to replace agitated shallow breathing with deep relaxing breaths can be a tool to help you calm down wherever you are.
When stress strikes at work, while you are traveling, in traffic, or at home, try one of these breathing techniques from Leah Lagos, PhD, on RodaleOrganicLife.com
Reverse rhythm – When you are feeling overwhelmed, think of two of the most wonderful moments of your life and remember the joy and love you felt at that time as you take a deep breath. Then exhale and let go of any tense negative feelings. Linking a positive moment to your breath may shift the rhythm of your heart from negative to positive.
Go for 10 - Take 10 breaths. As you inhale for four seconds concentrate on the feelings of stress and worry that you are having. Then exhale for six seconds letting everything go as you feel the release.
Lift the heart – Take three sets of five breaths, breathing in for four seconds, and exhaling for six seconds. In the first set of inhalations, concentrate on your negative feelings and then let them all go as you exhale. In the next set of five inhalations, let your mind clear as you just concentrate on your breath. In the last set of five breaths concentrate on the warmth and love you feel for family and friends as you let go of all negatives with your exhales. This process can lift your heart with a new positive focus.
If these breathing exercises work for you, try others. There are many breathing techniques out there that may help you reenergize yourself, go to sleep, or just calm down quickly. Find the ones that work best for you and use them whenever you need them as a drug-free immediate way to blow off stress.
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