In our busy day to day lives we might find that occasionally we need a quick ‘stress-buster’, a stress relief to help us relax and flow more effortlessly with each unfolding moment.
Perhaps you don’t have the time to go through some intricate relaxation technique or a full blown meditation session. Rather what you might need is something quick and effective.
If that is the case, here are eight quick, simple yet effective ways to gain almost instant relief from stress, allowing for more plentiful moments of 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 is sometimes called “mindful eating” or “mindful tasting”. This is a smart way of paying extra attention to the process and activity of simply eating. By focusing on tasting and smelling the food, could be a fruit, vegetable, nut or whatever that’s edible and tasty.
Eating the raisin
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, one answer is that you’d be surprised how much stress and anxiety can be alleviated by simply cultivating conscious awareness of something, whatever. W
In other words, by simply directing your attention and focus on something present and actual, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary psychological anguish.
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. Take a walk
Movement and exercise is one of the best and simplest ways of alleviate stress levels. By taking a walk, preferably in nature, you allow things, mental and physical alike, to pass you by without attachment. You’re moving forward, which naturally puts you in a different state of mind while also improving your physical conditioning.
Whether you decide on a short or a long stroll around the block or the office can be all that you need to reset, recharge and restart.
5. Start humming
If you wish to try something more fun, 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 in general can do wonders for one’s psychological well being, causing instant relief from stress, anxiety and depression.
6. Breathe slowly, deeply and consciously
Breath and the art of listening to it is a powerful way of relieving any type of psychological distress, especially stress. If you really learn to become conscious of the different ways the breath moves in and out, you can start aligning your wild mind with the innate, natural and harmonious workings of the body.
Also by breathing slowly, deeply and consciously you trigger relaxation responses in the brain, which immediately lessens your overall stress-levels.
7. Try aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, also known as essential oil therapy, is natural way of promote health and well-being by using aromatic essential oils (natural plant extracts) to help heal the body, mind and spirit. A simple scent can take your attention away from the things that stress you out to something much more immediate and pleasant. There are many different types of essential oils, each which supposedly target different psychological and emotional states.
The absolute easiest way to start aromatherapy is to simply sniff an opened essential oil bottle with a extract that you most prefer. Another way would be to keep an essential oil diffuser in your home or office that occasionally releases the lovely aromas into the air. Don’t over do it though!
8. 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 sure how much aware you are of the fact that we as subjective beings, co-create our reality. Stress and anxiety, especially, is co-created depending on what things we regard and prioritize as being important in our lives. Whenever you fully decide that something is not of importance or of interest to you, that “thing” in many ways loses its power to put you in a stressful situation.
Now this is of course easier said than done, but nevertheless it’s an important phenomena 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 choices.
Hopefully these super simple and quick stress busters has opened the way for that possibility.