Thursday, April 2, 2009

5 Instant Stress Reducers

  • BREATHE: Stop, Drop, and Breathe. Okay, maybe not “drop”, but definitely stop and breathe. When we’re uptight or straining ourselves we usually forget to do this. Start by taking a few deep breaths. Next, give this pranayama technique a try: 1) Inhale deeply. 2) Hold your breath for 4 seconds. 3) Exhale for count of 4 seconds. 4) Repeat. Continue this pattern for about one minute.
  • MOVE: Sometimes stress is so habitual that we have to literally shake it off. Stand up, extend your arms out and imagine that you’re a soggy wet dog and give yourself a good shake. If a good wiggle doesn’t work for you, go for a short walk and take in your surroundings.
  • SMILE (OR LAUGH): Give yourself a happy break. Just like whistling a happy tune, smile to fake a happy mood. Smiling sends a message to your unconscious mind and automatically generates a positive mood and attitude. If you fake happiness long enough, you might just start to believe that it’s true.
  • TIGHTEN AND RELEASE: Lie flat on the floor. Starting with the feet: tighten and squeeze your feet as much as you can. Then move upward, tense and relax the ankles, calves, knees, thighs and entire body one by one. When you get to your head, lift the head off the ground and squeeze all the muscles of your face. Lie quietly for a minute afterward, noticing the change in your body and basking in the calm.
  • VISUALIZATION/MEDITATION: Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Imagine a bright red rose in front of you. Notice the vibrant petals, its color and its texture. See this rose clearly in your minds eye. Take another deep breath and smell the rose. Savor its scent and let it fill your body. Slowly open your eyes. Keep your eyes soft for just a minute longer, lingering on the beautiful rose.

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