So, there you are, realizing that all of a sudden you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or even anxious. You want to do something about it, but feel trapped within your own skin.
When you feel as if there is no way out, what can you do?
Here are 5 quick tips that you can work on, to help you recover from these times of stress, tension, and anxiety, so you can get on with your life.
Since we are all different, the idea is to find which method works best for you. Allow yourself to take these methods on, at home, and into your daily life, to help change the way your mind looks at how you deal with stress and anxiety.
I know we all hear this stated a lot, “just breathe”, but using the correct method can enhance your calm, and in a shorter period of time. This is my favorite method to use when I am feeling the need to calm my body down quickly.
- Stand with your feet about hip width apart with your eyes closed, to internalize and block out potential distractions. (Unless you have a need to keep your eyes open.)
- Place your palms together and SLOWLY exhale your arms down to heart center. The slower the better, for whenever you exhale longer than the inhale, you kick in the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for relaxing the body.
- Repeat this move about five times, very slowly, and notice with every exhale that your body becomes more and more relaxed. Relax your shoulders, and feel the body as it starts to let go.
There are many different ways you can “breathe”, and this is just one of them. I find this method to be most helpful for me, as for many of my students. The best time to practice this move is when you are NOT in a stressed out state. Why? So your body can get used to how you are SUPPOSED to feel, and really tap into how you can relax yourself. This way, when you ARE tense and anxious, the body will recognize the feeling you are trying to accomplish. The more you practice this in a relaxed state, the easier the brain will understand the feeling you are looking for.
2. SHAKE OUT YOUR HANDS / BREATHE
There are times that I may feel additional energy within my body, so, to add to the above, and if you are one of those people who need to “get the energy out”, you may want to try this.
- Stand, as above, with the feet about hip width apart and with your eyes opened or closed. (Closed allows you to internalize more.)
- Take a nice long inhale, but instead of just inhaling the arms over your head, allow your body to shake your hands out as you lift them up over your head, towards the ceiling.
- Then place the palms together, and slowly exhale, longer then the inhale, till hands are at heart center.
- Repeat this a few times, and then maybe morph into just raising your arms over your head, without the shaking, as your body feels the relaxation wave through you.
If you are one of those people who, once stress and anxiety start to build, experience an influx of thoughts, you may want to use focusing as a tool. Here are a couple of examples to try. It has been proven that when you focus in on one thing and one thing alone, your mind can’t allow any further thoughts in!
Now, laughter may seem like a ridiculous idea when you are feeling stress and anxiety, and the LAST thing you want to do. BUT, the benefits outweigh the idea. Smiling and laughing allows for endorphins to be released, which counter anxiety and stress. The more you laugh, the less stressed you can be. The body also can’t process being negative and positive at the same time, so if you have a tool to switch the body into a positive state, this may be helpful.
Sometimes we have trapped energy inside the body that just may need to move about to get released. In these cases, it may be helpful to:
Cat/cow pose, in particular, is a great example of moving the body with the breath:
As you inhale nice and slow, you move your body nice and slow. As you exhale, extend the time of the exhale longer than the inhale while you move very slowly. You should start to feel the joy of the movement of your body, as you start to relax.
Remember that with all these methods above, it is REALLY important to practice them. You can’t expect your body to just leap into relaxation, when it’s not trained to do so. Try each of these, on their own, and notice which methods work best for you. Only YOU know your own body, so honor it, and listen to it.
Since these methods take only seconds to minutes, you can practice them many times throughout the day. Be sure to never rush through them. Find a quiet space and give your body that time to really FEEL the relaxation come over your body. Relax the shoulders and FEEL them drop down your back as you exhale. Remember, the more you practice this, the more your body will tap into the understanding of “how” to relax. You will then have ability to help calm your mind and body as you need to. These are great tools to start you on the process of learning how to relax the body and mind.
With peace, love, and calm... XO
Michelle has a BS, E-RYT, YACEP, CHN, CLYL, and Y12SRL.