How do you relieve your stress when you are feeling overwhelmed? When stress strikes, we usually can’t indulge in a relaxing massage, a venting session with a friend, or a 30-minute workout. Here are a few quick techniques to help you deal with stress quickly and in the moment.
Take a Deep Breath
One of the best – and easiest – stress reduction techniques is to use your breath to create feelings of calm and relaxation. Deep, full breaths can help your mind and muscles to relax by slowing down your heart rate and releasing serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, into the bloodstream.
Breathing energizes us by oxygenating the cells of our body. Optimal breathing involves not only your lungs but also your diaphragm, a large muscle in your abdomen. Deep diaphragmatic breathing fills the lungs with more oxygen than shallow or chest-breathing, raises levels of blood oxygen, and promotes health by improving mental performance, digestion, and fitness. Shallow or chest-breathing, on the other hand, causes a constriction of the chest and lung tissue, decreasing oxygen flow and delivery to your tissues.
When we are stressed, our tendency is to take shallow breaths. To improve your breathing, breathe more from your abdomen. Do this by inhaling a deep breath. Then, imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach and as you exhale, force all the air out of that balloon or imagine that you are using your exhale to gently blow on some food to cool it off. In both cases, once you exhale every bit of air, your next breath will automatically be a diaphragmatic, oxygen-rich breath.
Do a few of these deep breaths, with a relaxed and satisfying pace. If you begin to feel light-headed, slow down your breathing or take a little break.
Improve your energy, release tension and stress, and simply relax by practicing deep breathing.
Common stress relief advice is to exercise. When you only have a few minutes to spare, you can still gain some of the benefits of exercising by performing a few simple stretching exercises. These exercises could range from stretching your arms over your head, rolling your shoulders, flexing your hands and fingers, and bending to touch your toes.
Use stretching as a time of active relaxation. Enjoy the benefits of a change of pace and mini-break from your routine.
How does laughter help to relieve stress? Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and increases the level of feel-good endorphins and neurotransmitters. A good laugh can generate overall good feelings, happiness, and deep relaxation.
Is it hard for you to manufacture a laugh? Laughter is involuntary and almost impossible to fake. If you are trying to laugh, it may help to remember the last time you laughed and see if that generates another laugh for you.
Even a smile has some of the same benefits of a laugh. The simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you are happy and the body automatically pumps out those feel-good endorphins and helps you change your mood.
The next time you’re feeling stressed, try these quick stress-busters to change your mood and increase your sense of well-being and happiness.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Is your mind racing in a hundred different directions? Here are some quick centering and grounding techniques to help bring you some relief.
Center yourself. Are you feeling scattered and restless? When you’re stressed and lose your center, your mind and body are disconnected. While your body is in the present, your mind may be racing in many different directions. To quiet the mind, it can help to find and connect with your center. To do this, visualize a line of light and energy coming down from the sky above you, entering the top of your head, traveling down through your body, and then exiting out through your feet. Align your body and your thoughts with this energy. Spend a few moments breathing into your center and enjoy the peace you find there.
Ground yourself. You can feel scattered and out of balance when you are not focused on the present moment. Grounding exercises are meant to snap you back into reality and into the present moment, the place of your optimal functioning. Practice these and find what works best for you.
• Ground yourself visually by taking a deep breath and then start to mentally catalog the things you see around you, down to the very smallest detail.
• Ground yourself using auditory senses by noticing all the sounds in your environment, including the pitch and rise of all the sounds and the layers of sounds.
• Strong smells can help you reconnect to the present moment. A whiff of a strong peppermint smell works for many people.
• A tactile exercise to ground yourself is to press with the heel of one foot onto the big toe of your other foot – press just hard enough to notice it but not so hard to cause pain.
Deep breathing. If you are feeling stressed, deep (or diaphragmatic) breathing brings more oxygen into your body, helping you relax your muscles, release tension, and feel more alert and refreshed. To perform deep breathing, take a breath in through your mouth, like you are slowly sipping a straw. Hold your breath a few moments, then gently exhale, like you are blowing out a candle, until every little bit of breath is exhaled. Your next breath will automatically be a diaphragmatic breath, improving your body’s ability to oxygenate your cells and systems. Do a few more of these breaths and notice how you feel. This is a simple exercise that you can do whenever you feel stressed. For maximum health and stress reduction benefits, make deep breathing a regular practice.
We’re usually unproductive, uncomfortable, and dissatisfied when we’re in the grip of feeling stressed and scattered. Use these simple centering and grounding exercises to bring your body and mind into alignment and increase your sense of well-being and happiness.