We all encounter stressful situations daily. It can be mild stress that borderline annoyance like traffic jams or getting the wrong order. It can also be extremely disruptive like a loved one’s death or getting an eviction notice.
Stress is part of being human. No one can escape it, but we can learn to manage it and reduce its effects. Too much stressing can hinder a healthy life. It causes both physical and psychological problems. Hence, stress management should be on top of everybody’s list.
Many people just slumber in front of a TV to relieve stress, but that’s neither productive nor healthy. Here are a couple of good techniques to fight against stress.
Deep breathing is one of the most common and most powerful relaxation techniques that exist. It can be practiced anywhere, anytime, and with a very short time limit. It can also be combined with other relaxation techniques.
It consists of taking in as much air as possible in the lungs from the abdomen. Deep breathing allows the body to take in more oxygen than regular shallow breaths. With the increased oxygen in the body, it becomes less tense. To practice it, sit comfortably or lie down. Place a hand on your stomach, so you can fill it moving. Then, for about five minutes, inhale deeply from the nose and exhale from the mouth.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a two-step process that helps you to become familiar with the sensation of stress in different areas of your body. It helps you to understand your body and be more aware of stressful situations. As you become more aware of the instances when you’re stressed, you can avoid them or minimize the stress when you encounter them.
The first step is to get into a comfortable sitting and practice deep breathing. Then, tense up your muscles one by one starting with your feet. With each muscle, concentrate on it before tensing it. Stay tensed in that one area for at least ten seconds. Then, release it. Stay connected to the muscles as tension is released and pause before moving on to the next muscle.
It will probably take more than one try to get it right. However, it’s worth it. It builds a familiarity between you and your body’s responses to situations. It helps you respond accordingly.
It should not be performed by anyone with a history of muscle spasms, back problems, or any serious injuries that may become aggravated due to muscle tensing.
Repetitive prayer consists of silently repeating a short prayer or phrase while practicing deep breathing. This technique works exceptionally well for people who more religious or spiritual. However, others can practice it also. Others can choose a personal mantra or a short poem to repeat as they take in their deep breaths.
It helps to isolate other thoughts, especially negative ones. It’s best to use a positive and motivational prayer or poem to recite. It will give the mind a more positive outlook on life.
Yoga and Tai Chi
Both Yoga and Tai Chi are ancient art forms that can help people reduce stress and increase agility. They use posture, movement, and deep breathing. They provide mental focus to chase away racing and negative thoughts.
Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, balance, and stamina. Tai chi is safer and better suited for people of all fitness levels. It includes flowing movements that are self-paced.
These exercises can sometimes be challenging for beginners, less active people or people with health problems. Before starting one of these techniques, it’s best to consult with a doctor and a tutor to choose what’s best for you.
Decompressing is a technique that helps to reduce pressure on the part of the body. You must wrap your neck and should with a warm towel for ten minutes. Relax all your muscles while keeping your eyes closed. Then, remove the warm wrap and replace it with a tennis ball.
The tennis ball is used to apply pressure to the area. You can also use a foam roller. The point is to apply pressure by leaning onto the ball. Move the ball to a new area every fifteen seconds.
Guided Imagery (Visualization)
In visualization, you conjure up the image of a soothing place, scene, or experience. It should be one that’s relaxing and personal. Whether it’s your first time learning how to ride a bicycle with your parents or your favorite hiding spot, your imagination is the limit. It helps to put your mind at ease and relieve anxiety.
You can practice visualization with a therapist or by yourself. There are many online apps that can guide you through it. You can also use gentle music or other recordings that go along with the image and relaxes you.
The body scan meditation is like the progressive muscle relaxation. The only difference is the lack of muscle tensing. The body scan only focuses on familiarization with your body’s normal sensations without any stress. It builds a mind-body connection.
Just like with the progressive muscle relaxation, you must focus on each part of the body separately. With the body scan, it includes more than the muscles. You also focus on toes, ears, and face. It starts with a moment of deep breathing, then, when the body is completely relaxed, you begin from toes to your hair. You feel each part and consider how they feel, whether there’s any painful or uncomfortable sensation.
Mindful meditation helps to treat people with anxiety, depression, and pain. It takes the focus away from any thoughts about the future and the past. It focuses solely on the present. To practice mindful meditation, you can do deep breathing, do a repetitive prayer, or exercise. You must let go of everything to focus only on the current activity. It takes time and concentration to push out any thoughts that don’t deal with the present.
Laughing is the easiest and one of the best meditation methods out there. It comes free of charge and increases your entire mood. When you laugh, you release endorphins which are hormones that boost your mood. There’s no method for laughing or anything to go with it. Just find something or someone you enjoy. Focus on having a good time and make some jokes that will give you a full belly laugh.
It’s not difficult to relax, but people are so busy that they barely take time for themselves. Most of these meditations techniques are easy and quick. Take some time to try them and find the one for you.