Stress is a fact of life so it’s important to learn techniques to help you keep you feeling cool, calm and on top of your day:
1. Breathe Deeply To Slow Down
Slow, deep breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to calm yourself down when stress creeps in. Try this simple technique:
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
- Close your eyes and breathe in deeply through your nose. You should feel your belly rise with the breath but the hand on your chest should not move.
- Hold the breath for a few seconds then release.
- Breathe out fully, feeling your belly move underneath your hand. Your chest should not move.
- Repeat a few times until you feel yourself becoming calmer and more relaxed.
Meditation is a great way to give yourself a quick mental break from your busy day. While it is not always easy to switch off your mind, this easy technique is designed to bring your attention to the present moment and calm your thoughts.
- Find a quiet space and sit down in a comfortable position.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths.
- Focus your attention on something. This can be an object in the room, part of your body, a word or an imaginary scene. Your eyes can be open or closed depending on your point of focus.
- Hold this focus for a few minutes until you feel calmer and more relaxed. If other thoughts enter your mind, just acknowledge them and then return your attention to your point of focus.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This simple relaxation technique is a great way to release physical tension and relax both your body and your mind.
- Find a quiet space and sit or lie in a comfortable position.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths and close your eyes.
- Focus your attention on your right foot. Tense the muscles and hold for a few seconds before releasing. Feel the muscles relax and the tension leave your foot. Allow your foot to become heavy and sink into the floor.
- Repeat the exercise for your left foot.
- Gradually work your way up your body, repeating the exercise for your calves, thighs, buttocks, stomach, chest, arms, hand, back, shoulders, neck and face.
- Take a few moments to relax and breathe deeply before returning to your day.
Yoga is another fantastic relaxation technique for both body and mind. There are many styles of yoga, some more challenging than others, and it is a good idea to try a few classes to find out which style suits you. Even if you can’t schedule a class, there are a few simple yoga stretches you can try at your desk or at home to relieve the tension of your busy day.
- Wrist Stretch – Place your hands in front of your chest and press your palms together into prayer position. Press both hands to the right to stretch your right wrist, hold for a few breaths and repeat on the left side.
- Seated Crescent Moon – Stretch your arms high above your head and place your palms together. Stretch your arms and fingers as you lean gently to the right. Hold for a few breaths and return to the center before repeating on the left side.
- Chair Twist – Place both feet firmly on the floor and sit up straight. Put both hands on the right side of your chair and gently twist to the right, keeping your spine straight and tall. Hold for a few breaths and return to the centre before repeating on the left side.
5. Self Massage
A massage is one of the best ways to keep relaxed — and doesn't have to be an expensive treat! In fact, you can easily give yourself a mini massage any time you need a quick time-out at home or at work.
- Sit in a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths.
- Place two or three fingertips at the base of your skull on either side of your spine.
- Press gently as you move your fingers in small, circular movements.
- Repeat this circular motion as you work your way down your neck.
- When you reach the point where your neck meets your shoulder blades, press down and hold while you take a few deep breaths.
- Repeat the whole sequence three times or until you feel calmer and more relaxed.