10 TIPS TO RELIEVE STRESS
1. Check the Breath
• Check in with your breathing and take note.
• Are you holding your breath? Is your breath shallow? Where do you feel the breath traveling within your body?
• Start by simply developing an awareness of how your breath feels.
2. Balloon Belly
• Inflate the belly slowly as if you were expanding a balloon within.
• SLOW DOWN your exhalation as you deflate this ‘balloon.’ This is the key to deeply relaxing and immediately calms the parasympathetic nervous system.
• Within a few deep, even belly breaths, you should begin to feel more relaxed.
• For a few moments hold tension in your arms by grasping fists and tightening the muscles up your arms.
• Slowly release the tension, until no tightness remains.
• Repeat this exercise with your feet and legs. Feel the muscles contract, and then release.
• Repeat with the buttocks. Clench the buttocks in the same manner, and then relax the muscles.
• Repeat with your facial muscles. Scrunch the muscles inward and hold, and then release after a few moments.
4. Lavender Up!
• Essential oil lavender is one of the most calming scents. There are many studies which demonstrate how our sense of smell can have an effect on our moods.
• Dab a few drops of this relaxing scent to your pulse points on your wrist, and on your sides and back of your neck. Rub the oil on your hands and inhale this calming, soothing scent through your nose.
5. Make a Statement
• In your mind, state a positive, replacement effect that you want to achieve when you feel stressed, tense, or overwhelmed. In a sense, you are replacing a negative thought with a positive one.
• Example: If a defeating or overwhelming thought creeps into your mind, replace it with ‘I am calm and relaxed, and my life is in balance.’ Remember, what we think becomes our reality, so state what positive outcome you want and work towards that goal.
6. Visualize your Outcome
• Like an athlete who visualizes the perfect golf shot, free throw, or home run before they even approach the ball, visualize a positive outcome of what you want to occur when faced with a stressor.
• See the obstacle being overcome and how it will look and feel in your life when that happens.
7. Have an Attitude of Gratitude
• Research has been shown demonstrating the positive effects of having gratitude and thankfulness in one’s life. Even in the face of the most difficult moments, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
• Experience the healing, destressing benefits of gratitude as you practice this technique. Gratitude isn’t just for experiencing once a year at Thanksgiving! Families can also benefit by individually expressing gratitude at every shared meal together.
8. Get Moving!
• Walk, dance, swim, run, bike ride, practice yoga … just MOVE! Exercise is a proven way to increase the endorphins in our brain. People who exercise regularly benefit from a more positive mood and a lower rate of depression.
9. Laughter Therapy
• Read a funny book, watch a funny movie, or even engage in spontaneous laughter. Seek a ‘Laughter Yoga’ class for this type of release. Not only is it enjoyable, it also has aerobic benefits.
• When we laugh, we release stress-relieving hormones and bring balance to the immune system.
10. Pocket Journal
• Keep a small notepad with you. Pull it out if your thoughts are overwhelming and you experience tension.
• Without deciding in advance what you will write, take freestyle notes on whatever comes to you at the moment.
• The goal is to get thoughts that are spiraling inside our minds out onto paper.
This is a very cathartic way to release the inner turmoil and let go, as the words
are transferred outward.
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