We all feel stress, sometimes more often and intense than others. Yet you can still find moments of relaxation, if you know what to do, or where to look. Try sprinkling these mini relaxation techniques throughout your day.
- Tense and release
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that can be used to control stress and anxiety. To practice this technique, tense up muscles in a certain area of your body for up to 15 seconds and then release. Continue this as you work your way up or down your body. This is a great way to develop greater awareness of what’s going on in your body.
- Focus on your breath
There are several ways you can use your breath to relax. You can:
- Draw in a deep breath from your stomach, filling your lungs from the bottom up. Then exhale, letting your breath out as slowly as possible.
- Breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 4, then exhale to a count of 4.
- Observe yourself passively breathing in and out. Feel the breath going in and out, and notice how it feels as your lungs expand and contract.
- Breathe in while saying “I am”, then breathe out with a positive statement like “at peace.”
- Express gratitude
Experiencing high levels of chronic stress, depression, anger, and hostility can negatively impact your health — including increasing your risk of a stroke or other medical conditions. Shifting thoughts to positive ones can help redirect negativity before it can affect our mood and cause harm.
One easy way to do this is by reminding ourselves of the good things in our lives. Take a few moments every day to list out what you’re thankful for. It could be a loved one, the roof over your head, or a happy memory. This practice can help us focus on the positive of our daily lives.
- Take a break
When you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, maybe what you really need is a break. Recognize when you need to step away, need to clear your mind, or quit swirling on something. Often, we get caught up in our work and routines and we forget to take time for ourselves.
When you do take that break, use the time to completely reset. Avoid looking at your phone, reading, or watching TV. Let your mind take a break from tasks, let yourself recharge — and settle into a true state of rest and relaxation.
- Do a 1-minute meditation
There are many health benefits to practicing mindfulness and meditation. In fact, studies show that meditation can improve anxiety, depression, and pain, and may even help you sleep better.
Some people have trouble finding the time to meditate, struggle to quiet their minds or sit still for too long. Try this — set a timer for 60 seconds and clear your mind by focusing on your breath or repeating a mantra. You can always add on additional time. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to focus on your breath or sensations.
- Explore your happy place
Even if we can’t get out, we can use our imagination to take us somewhere interesting or relaxing. Imagine a safe, comfortable location, somewhere where you feel completely at peace. It could be a real-life memory or something you make up. As you picture this place, try to get as detailed as possible. Imagine the scent of pine in the air or the sound of a kitten purring on your lap — whatever helps you feel calm and at ease. Take deep cleansing breaths while picturing every detail. After a few minutes, you’ll start to feel your tension melt away!
With contribution from KP. org
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