Sigh To Help Yourself Be Fully Present In The Moment
During the MBSR class, we would take a few mindful sighs between transitioning from one person speaking to another. You breathe in to a count of five through your mouth, and then you let out a very loud sigh, the sound you hear your teenager make. I was always amazed at how powerful those small sighs were to adjust my energy level and focus.
Pour A Few Drops Of Lavender Essential Oil
There are different theories as how and why lavender oil calms you down. Some scientists believe that lavender stimulates the activity of brain cells in the amygdala similar to the way some sedatives work. Others think molecules from essential oils interact in the blood with enzymes and hormones. Research backs its soothing results. A study published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine measured the responses of 17 cancer hospice patients to humidified essential lavender oil aromatherapy. Results reflected a positive change in blood pressure and pulse, pain, anxiety, depression, and sense of well-being. I sometimes use lavender oil to sleep better.
How To Relax Yourself When Going Through A Stressful Time
Contributed by Christine Binney
Being a caregiver for a loved one can definitely be stressful at times. It is a big responsibility to provide the best care possible for your friend or family member, and it can be a strain on your time, energy, finances and emotions. When you combine the stresses of caregiving with the daily stresses of everyday life, you may occasionally feel overwhelmed with tension. Unchecked stress has been linked to a variety of physical and psychological health problems, so its extremely important to learn how to relax yourself when going through a stressful time. Luckily, there are some tried and true strategies for lessening stress which you can employ the next time you feel your blood pressure rising.
Take a deep breath
The simple act of mindful breathing can work wonders for quickly lowering your heart rate and bringing your body into a state of relaxation. The extra boost of oxygen that you attain from taking long, deep breaths can reduce tension and help you calm down, making this an extremely simple yet very valuable strategy for dealing with stressful situations.
Laughter is the best medicine
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Ways To Eliminate Stress From Your Life
Post written by Leo Babauta.
You often see articles on ways to unwind and relax after a stressful day, which I always find useful, but for me the most important advice would be to get to the source of the problem, and cut stress out before it even happens.
I dont believe that a stress-free life is possible. Stress is a response to challenges in life, and a life without challenges is too boring to contemplate. However, I do believe that most of the stress in our lives is unnecessary, and that it can be eliminated by taking some simple steps. It cant be accomplished overnight Ive been eliminating stressors in my life for awhile now, and Im still not done. But I think its a worthwhile goal.
Lets first take a look at an example its a little extreme, but it exemplifies the typical stressors in peoples lives. Lets say Fred gets up in the morning, waking up late, and now has to rush to get ready. Hes so rushed that he spills his coffee on his shirt and has to change, a nicks himself shaving. He heads out the door and then has to go back in the house because he forgot his wallet. He gets in the car and realizes he forgot his keys.
Again, this is a bit extreme, but you can see through this illustration some of the things that stress people out. There are many more, of course, and I wont cover all of them here.
But these sources of stress can be eliminated with a little thought. Heres how:
Teach Yourself To Relax: Here’s How
By Jan Bruce, CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium
You think if your stress would loosen its chokehold on you, then you could relax. But you have it backwards: If you learned to relax, then stress would recede. That’s because relaxing is a practice, and like a muscle, and you need to use it — or lose it.
Your sympathetic nervous system gets all the action — its job is to respond to stressful situations by equipping you with what you need to cope. The parasympathic nervous system does the opposite — it’s responsible for what Herbert Benson coined “the relaxation response.” If you don’t train yourself to relax, your body essentially forgets how to do it .
Here are a few things to do today to reengage your parasympathetic nervous system and relearn what it means to relax.
Not forever! Just for now. Your email, your phone, your tablet, whatever — can drain you of energy if you let it. Take a break from your electronics periodically to reenergize and ward off fatigue and relieve physical and mental stress. Try 30 minutes each day minimum, and at least an hour on weekends. When you remove the incessant chirp of your phone or email, you allow yourself to sink into a focused activity and not feel so incredibly on edge. Try it.
Bonus: Do one gadget-free activity each day: go for a walk, meditate, have a one-on-one lunch without your phone in your hand.
Get Closer to Nature
Try a No-Bells, No-Whistles Meditation Practice
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Switch Off Your Phone
Our phones can be a constant source of distraction. Emails, messages, phone calls, notifications, news feeds, sports scores etc etc. Try to get into the healthy habit of not using your phone or having it beside you 24/7. Better still, get into the productive habit of either not using it for the first hour of the day or switching it off in the evening an hour before you go to bed.
Relax Mentally And Emotionally
Your experience of stress involves your thoughts and emotions. You may think that you can’t adequately handle the stressors you’re facing , and experience fear as a result. These can accompany and even perpetuate your stress response. Often, reexamining your thoughts can help you to relax emotionally.
You can better understand your thoughts and alter this cycle if you learn how to relax as you face your stressors. Techniques to achieve this include:
- Changing negative self-talk to positive
- Learning how to reframe thoughts so that the way you perceive potential stressors in your life is less stressful
- Determining your cognitive distortions, such as all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralizing, jumping to conclusions, focusing on the negative, labeling, and “should” statements, as well as how to correct them
- Working to develop greater optimism
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Relaxing Your Body Even Further
After the relaxing bath, some people have the energy to do the things they like, and some people want to go even deeper. Many turn to sleeping, the bodys natural regenerating mechanism. It is ok, but today were here to reach the deeper levels of relaxation. To get there, a massage is the next step.
Since this is a guide for relaxing in your home, youll either order a masseuse to come to your house or get a massaging chair. If you are lucky enough to possess this wonderful chair, you just strap in and hit play. The speed, pace, and intensity are not universal, so you will need to experiment, and to see which mode suits you the best.
Another add-on for ambient and overall improvement is scented sticks. Those can be bought anywhere, and the choice of the type of scent is left to you. However, pine, lavender, and bergamot are good to start with. Their primal purpose is to enhance meditation and give you additional focus, but the purpose of relaxing is also notable.
Allow Yourself To Receive More
One of the greatest contributing factors to stress is the idea that we have to do everything on our own rather than receiving. Few of us were taught how to receive. We are taught to work it all out and be independent.
While there is nothing wrong with being strong and independent, what if you could receive too?
One of the greatest gifts I have discovered that assisted with receiving more is something called the Access Consciousness Bars. The Access Consciousness Bars consist of 32 points on the head that when gently touched dissipate the thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas and points of view that keep you from having joy and ease in your life.
The next time you are taking on the world and its challenges all on your own, stop, take a deep breath, relax, and find something that can provide a different point of view and contribute, such as someone to run your Bars . The important thing is to have a look around at possibilities you have not chosen.
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Get To The Pressure Point With Hand Massage
I learned this one in both the MBSR program and in Brukners book. Whats great about it is that you can do it while attending a lecture, listening to your kids fight, or sitting at your desk working. No one will notice. Simply use the thumb of one hand and press around the palm of the other hand. Its very soothing.
Tip : Talk To Someone You Trust
It isnt always easy to manage stress, worry, or sadness by yourself. Connect with a friend, a parent, a teacher, or a trusted adult about how you are feeling, and they may be able to help you. Sometimes just by connecting with someone else, you might feel better.
If things are so overwhelming that you have thoughts about harming yourself, reach out to a professional helper.
Sometimes we may feel very overwhelmed or hopeless and have thoughts about hurting ourselves, or thinking that life is not worth living anymore, or wishing that you would fall asleep and not wake up.
These thoughts are not uncommon and you should not feel ashamed if you are experiencing these. Remember: if you feel this way, it is essential to talk to someone you trust or a professional helper who can help to keep you safe. This can include asking this person to help you access support at local services .
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Talk To A Good Friend
Gaining social support from trusted friends can help you to process what you’re feeling, and supply you with an influx of new and helpful ideas for how to manage your stressors, which can help you know how to relax your mind by helping you feel less burdened by your stressors. That’s why maintaining a supportive circle of friends is important.
Getting out of a rumination rut by talking things out with a trusted confidante can help you feel more relaxed and provide the clarity you need to take action.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Give Yourself A Squeeze
You know how your cat will go all rigid for a second, tensing all those kitty muscles and then relaxing them? That looks kind of good, right? Well, you can try it too or a version of it anyway.
Progressive relaxation involves tensing and releasing muscles, body part by body part. You may not have time to do your whole frame in five minutes, but just arms, shoulders, neck, and head will suffice.
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Have A Centering Object
When youre anxious or angry, so much of your energy is being spent on irrational thoughts. When youre calm, find a centering object such as a small stuffed animal, a polished rock you keep in your pocket, or a locket you wear around your neck.
Tell yourself that youre going to touch this object when youre experiencing anxiety or frustration. This centers you and helps calm your thoughts. For example, if youre at work and your boss is making you anxious, gently rub the locket around your neck.
Combat Stressful Situations By Closing Your Eyes
Aron says that 80 percent of sensory stimulation comes in through the eyes, so shutting them every now and then gives your brain a much-needed break. She also says that she has found that highly sensitive persons do better if they can stay in bed with their eyes closed for nine hours. We dont have to be sleeping. Just lying in bed with our eyes closed allows for some chill time that we need before being bombarded with stimulation.
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Quick Stress Relief On The Go
In traffic. Play music or listen to an audiobook. Take a different route to see something new. Do neck-rolls at stoplights. Sing in the car to stay awake and happy.
Public transportation. Take a break from reading, cell conversations, and music to tune into the sights and sounds around you. Try noticing something new, even if youre on the same old bus ride.
Running errands. Wear a special perfume or lotion so you can enjoy it while you rush from place to place. Carry a stress ball in your pocket. Take a mental snapshot or postcard at each destination.
Waiting in lines. Instead of worrying about time slipping away, focus on your breathing. People watch. Chat with the person ahead of you. Chew a stick of minty gum.
Know What Actually Relaxes You
It might sound obvious, but tons of people arent very discerning or creative about how they spend their downtime. People often think theyre resting when theyre really not, clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D., tells SELF.
For example, maybe you tend to count scrolling through Twitter for a couple of hours as relaxation. That might be restful to some people, but for many, its more stressful than anything. Or maybe you force yourself to do things that youve heard are supposed to be relaxinglike meditating, napping, or taking a bubble bathwhen you actually find them super boring or unhelpful. Relaxation isnt one-size-fits-all.
To start to figure out what rest means to you, you might want to reframe how you think about it in the first place. Relaxation is not one activityits the outcome of any activity, says Caraballo. And which activities lead to relaxation will depend on you. Explore hobbies, different types of physical activity, various means of socializing, self-care practices, and more. Then pay attention. Ask yourself, How do I feel after doing this? Do I feel grounded? Do I feel stable? Do I feel at ease? If so, maybe thats something that can be on your list as a way to rest from the world, says Caraballo. And if not, maybe you need to try something else.
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Tip : Know When To Get Help
If you feel stuck or overwhelmed, know that it is a sign of strength to ask for help from someone you trust or a professional helper. Some warning signs that show you may need to get help include:
You cant sleep at night or you fall asleep but have a hard time staying asleep.
You are feeling a decrease in your level of energy and/or motivation.
Your eating patterns have changed: either you have lost your appetite or you cant stop yourself from eating too much.
You feel nervous, stressed, or worried all the time.
You are using alcohol or drugs to cope.
You often suddenly feel panicked. It may feel like you can’t breathe, or that your heart is pounding. No matter how much you try to calm down you are not able to relax.
You feel that life is no longer worth living and you have thoughts about hurting yourself or ending your life, or you feel like you would like to just go to sleep and not wake up.
You are experiencing violence or abuse.
If you start to feel this way it is important to get extra support from people working in local health, social or community services, even if it is difficult to talk about or share.
It is especially important if you are thinking that life is not worth living or if you have experienced physical harm to get support as soon as possible to keep yourself safe.
Key messages in this guide developed by the Inter-agency Standing Committee Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Reference Group.
How To Calm Stress
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 21 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 18,140 times.
Stress is a common side effect to worry or anxiety. When things aren’t going well, or something isn’t quite right, you might start to feel stressed. If you are feeling stressed, there are several things you can do to relax yourself quickly. When facing longer term stress in your life, you can use different strategies to reduce stress and remain calm.
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