You don't have to be a guru to use these easy de-stress techniques! Feeling peaceful and calm takes just moments when you know what to do - even if multiple daily stresses try to upset your internal equilibrium.
Regularly practising relaxation bolsters our ability to cope with stress. Having the tools to reach a calm oasis in a busy day - even if it is only for a minute or two at a time - cuts down anxiety. Managing the art of properly relaxing actually makes you more productive: if you’re not tense your mental processes are more efficient. Relaxation is simple but also enormously difficult, because it requires encouraging your mind to slow down. Brains like complicated things to think about, and they too get used to cramming too much in.
Everything in life is affected by how you feel and let’s face it, modern life is not about contentment! Through advertising and the media we’re shown how to improve, to achieve, do this, go here, buy that and it will make us more successful - better - more attractive even - or happier. But none of it does. Even our own expectations of 'how life is meant to be' can put a dent in the most peaceful of minds.
When you are stressed, your body gets used to it. It’s possible to be permanently over-stressed without the brain even noticing your body is suffering. When the body is ready for action; not the sudden ‘fight or flight’ response but the slow burn of never properly relaxing, other systems slow down or stop working. Digestive and reproductive systems go on ‘hold’ for as long as the state lasts, which could be years. Take a look at the range of indigestion medicines in the supermarket next time and you’ll see the scale of the problem.
Use these instant de-stress methods to keep your body relaxed and your brain sharp, even at the busiest times of your day:
1. Limit Phone Use
Mute your phone and put it face down, away or out of reach as often as you can. Tough, right? There is a whole beautiful world away from that little screen. The foveal vision used to look at a mobile phone is known to cause stress and anxiety (1). Engaging with reality, people watching, or simply taking 5 minutes without that constant input of information, is a de-stressor in itself. And, I know from my years doing Kinesiology, that it is impossible to test people if their mobile phone is within reach - the electrical charge in a phone really does screw up the body's biofield (2). Your body's electro-magnetic field does actually exist, it isn't weird 'new age' rubbish.
An extra tip is to give your body a stress break and never keep your phone next to your bed at night, or in a pocket during the day. Why? I'll give you a fr'instance: what do all of your nerves use to send impulses? Electricity. Electrical impulses make your heart beat and your brain work. They're made to work perfectly without extra electrical stimulus that's generated by mobile phones.
2. Breathe Break
Take a deep breath and slowly let it go. Take another. Where is the breath going - only to your chest or lower into your stomach too? Shallow breathing happens when we're busy or stressed, and taking a break for even 5 long, deep breaths calms the mind. The great thing about breathing breaks is you can do them anywhere.
3. Walk Calmer
Do you often feel that you're on a relentless treadmill that gets faster all the time, but that it's never quick enough? Walk calmer and it will de-stress you on the go without you even needing to think about it. Wherever you walk, even just round the house: halve your speed and lengthen your stride. Although the same distance is covered in the time, it's a calmer way to get from A to B. You'll find find that your breathing will naturally equalise with your stride length. The rhythm of a long stride coupled with a longer, deeper breath leads to clearer thinking.
4. Tension Check
Be aware of your body, don’t ‘live in your head’. It’s easier to feel where your tension is if you’re in touch with the physical you. Work your way up your body: think ‘toes’, ‘calves’, ‘knees’ etc. when sitting or standing. Be conscious of all the little bits of your body (even if they are tight with tension) that go to make the wonderful unique you. Your body really is a miracle. Use this relaxing neck and shoulder massage for an extra de-stress once a week.
5. See Wider
Practice using peripheral vision: that's the little trick of looking at what you're not looking precisely at. It's what we do naturally when we're sitting on a beach or staring into space - it's a very soothing way to get instant peace into your life. Look out of a window at a tree, a house or anything that is directly in front of you. Blink normally and without shifting your eyes away from the tree, etc. see if you can soften your focus slightly and be aware what is to the left and right of the tree, then above and below. Be aware of birds or other movement without looking away from the tree, then let your gaze wander. Find something new to look at and repeat the exercise. The more you do this, the wider your field of vision becomes - it's very restful for your eyes too.
6. Little Colour Meditation
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1. Relationship between the manner of mobile phone use and Depression, Anxiety and Stress in University Students: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5923739/
2. Biofield Science: Current Physics https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4654779/