Everyone feels stress at some time. Gridlocked traffic, a hectic job, problems with family and/or friends all at times make us feel overwhelmed. Stress causes elevated blood pressure which in turn can result in a stroke and heart attacks. Essentially, this means that removing stress is a good thing, though that’s easier said than done.
We hear of methods of relieving stress every day. Yet it's difficult to practice these methods while moving at the speed of light on a hectic job. It's hard to even remember the methods in the heat of battle with a recalcitrant teen. What are these methods, and can we actually use them to keep stress low? It’s possible to reduce your stress, though no one will ever completely eliminate it.
1 - Mindfulness
This practice can be performed anywhere at any time. Breathe deep, down to your breast bone. Slowly release the breath. As you breathe in, find a peaceful picture in your mind. It can be of your sleeping baby, a burbling stream in your favorite park, or the quiet of a stunning sunset. As you breathe deeply and slowly release the breath, concentrate on your picture. Feel the baby's skin nestling against you. Hear the chuckling of the stream in the park. Feel the breeze in the sunset caressing your face. When you feel peaceful again, take up what you were doing. Perform this mindful exercise whenever you begin feeling stressed.
2 - Chanting Affirmations
Repetitively chanting affirmations calms the mind and nerves. As you breathe in deeply and slowly release the breath, chant a positive statement about whatever situation in which you find yourself. It can be something like:
- “Someone will turn off, leaving the rest of the traffic to move freely. As I speak it, so it will be.”
- “The phones will stop ringing. I will be able to complete my work. As I speak it, so it will be.”
- “My children will clean their rooms without a fight. As I speak it, so it will be.”
- “My mother will stop calling every five minutes to ask a question. As I speak it, so it will be.”
Repeat your positive chant three times, breathing deeply as you do so. Your mind will calm, and your prayers will set your intention, releasing the positive energy out into the Universe. This action will eliminate the stress in the situation.
3 - It's Okay To Talk To Yourself
In any stressful situation, we sometimes give ourselves a hard way to go. Stress is negative, so it causes a negative reaction inside us. Let's turn that around. You can try to talk to yourself. When your boss criticizes you, talk to yourself if you actually did a good job and reinforce yourself. If a child is springing a surprise on you, provide yourself with reinforcement that you can handle the situation. Turning a negative into a positive will save you the stress that could very easily turn into high blood pressure and its resulting health problems.
4 - Remove Yourself From The Scene Of The Crime
Sometimes all you can do is go to the restroom and bang on the stall walls. If you can go outside for a smoke break, walk around the back of the building and yell. Walk down the street on your lunch break, tuck in your earbuds, and rock. Taking ourselves away from the cause of the stress gives us a chance to breathe, ease the stress in our neck and shoulders, and get us out into the fresh air and sunshine. It gives us a chance to do something healthy, which in itself eliminates stress.
5 - Yoga
This is the Eastern art of coordinating your breathing with physical poses or movements. As you assume the pose, breathe in deeply. As you hold the pose, breathe out slowly. As you flow into another pose, maintain your breathing. Not only will stress be kicked to the curb, but the mind clears, and the body benefits in balance and flexibility. You don't have to go to a gym or yoga studio. You can do the exercises in the privacy of a bathroom stall. You can do them in the breakroom, if no one is in there at the time. You can even do them outside on a smoke break.
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