In our busy day to day lives we might find that occasionally we need a quick ‘stress-buster.’
Here are four super simple ways you can gain almost instant relief from stress, allowing more frequent moments of daily relaxation into your busy life.
1. Mindful stretch
Mindfulness is a fantastic way of combating stress because it can be used at almost any time, and in almost any situation. If you’re having a hard day at the office simply do a 3-minute Mindful Stretch to recenter yourself.
- Stand up and take three mindful breaths. Feel the air expanding your lungs on the in-breath and notice how it feels. Then slowly release the breath, paying attention to sensations in your chest, stomach and shoulders.
- lift your arms up slowly until they are level with your shoulders. Take two more mindful breaths, paying attention to all the sensations in your body.
- Continue to move your arms upwards until they are above your head. Take two mindful breaths, and really feel the stretch. Notice any sensations of tension or energy moving.
- Now slowly lower your arms and your head, rolling your head towards your chest. Keep rolling down until you reach a point which is comfortable for you. Don’t try to force the stretch.
- Pay attention to the sensation of the stretch In the back of your legs. Let your arms hang freely towards the ground. Mindfully breathe.
- Slowly roll up to standing, letting your head roll up last. Take three breaths and repeat.
2. Mindful tasting
While we’re at the topic of mindfulness, whenever you feel overly stressed, one thing you can do is what I call “mindful eating” or “mindful tasting”.
The raisin exercise
A good way to start is to collect yourself with three conscious breaths, and then proceed by simply put a raisin in your mouth and be aware of it FULLY. That is put it in your mouth and hold it there, take special note of how it feels, its weight, its texture and its taste.
From there start chewing very slowly, fully conscious of each millisecond, noticing how the raisin undergoes multiple changes in your mouth. Being aware of your teeth, tongue and lips and your entire throat simultaneously.
You might be wondering, what in god’s earth does this have to do with me being stressed?
Well, in a way the answer is, everything.
If we are talking about the bad type of stress, its most likely about something inevitable which you endlessly go on worrying about to no avail or benefit for you.
By simply directing your attention and focus on something much more present and actual, you can avoid this unnecessary torment you create for yourself.
3. Get cross!
Not angry cross. To beat stress simply stand up and cross your legs so you are standing with one foot crossed over the other, both feet on the floor. Lift your arms above your head and cross them too.
This helps to beat stress by supposedly uniting the two hemispheres in your brain. When they are both engaged at the same time, stress can be reduced quite efficiently.
Next time you feel an oncoming deluge of stress, try it out and see if it really works!
4. Start humming
If you wish to try something more melodic and artistic, try humming.
You’d be surprised how much relief from stress and anxiety the simple act of humming can do.
Now now, you don’t have to be some great singer or “hummer”, simply a gentle hum of your most beloved musical piece or song is enough to bring your stress levels down a notch.
Artistic activities can indeed do wonders for one’s psychological wellbeing.
5. Change your stress perception
Stress can be a useful force for motivating us and helping to sharpen our senses. However, we often tell ourselves that stress is the enemy. Whilst chronic stress isn’t good for us, changing the way we view stress helps.
Professor Ian Robertson, a Scottish neuroscientist and psychologist at the Trinity College of Dublin, advises this brain hack – Next time you feel stress, tell your brain what you are feeling is excitement. This can change the way your brain perceives the situation and whether it sees the stress as beneficial or detrimental.
I’m not how much aware you are of the fact that we as subjective beings, co-create our reality. Stress, especially is co-created, depending on what we prioritize as being important. Whenever you fully decide that something is not of importance or of interest to you, that “thing” loses its power to put you in a stressful situation.
Now this is of course easier said than done, but nevertheless is an important fact to be conscious of. When you know that you are just as much responsible for your own misery (if not more) as the world around you, you can take the necessary steps to counteract that with wiser and healthier choicer.
Hopefully these super simple and quick stress busters has opened the way for that possibility.
I’m Grace, a fallen star living in Englands blooming fields.