Many of us know the feeling of stress very well …the adrenaline rushes through the body as you try and deal with a stressful situation, the ticking watch on your wrist as you sit in traffic on the way to somewhere important, or the deadline at work that seems impossible to make.
Here are some techniques that can give you a quick cool-down:
1. Change your environment
Do something pleasurable or relax for a moment, read, watch TV, or take a shower. If you are at work, step outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air.
2. Practice breathing exercises
Focus on your breath, pushing all other thoughts aside. Be conscious of the breath coming in and going out; focus on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling. Breathe/blow your stressful thoughts away.
Meditation is about quieting the mind. Not reacting; just noticing. Even a minute can make a difference. Be in the moment noticing everything around you and just observe without reacting.
4. Stretching/Relaxation exercises
Focus on some simple stretches to relax your body. Progressive muscle relaxation where you practice tensing and then releasing each of your muscle groups can help calm your body. If your body is physiologically relaxed, then you can’t be stressed.
5. Go for a walk or a run
Exercise can be a great stress reliever. It helps you blow off steam and releases endorphins. Take a walk or go running. This will provide some perspective so you can return to a new frame of mind. Walking or running are also great rhythmic activities that readjust your focus and relieve stress.
6. Immerse yourself in a creative outlet
Doing something creative that you enjoy like cooking, baking, art, photography or gardening can help you de-stress. For example, cooking, or baking requires focus, concentration and physical activity - especially if you are making bread or rolling out dough, Gardening requires physical activity, gets you outside in the fresh air and can be very therapeutic.
7. Express your feelings in writing or drawing
Write your stress away in a journal, take out your colored pencils and paper and focus your concentration on drawing, or have coffee with a trusted friend and just talk.
8. Be in the moment with one of your senses.
Sight, smell, sound, and taste—you’ll be amazed how quickly the stress melts away when you focus on just one of them. Light a scented candle and breathe in the scent. Eat something that you crave and savor each bite. Listen to a wonderful piece of music and let it take you away. Look at something beautiful in your surrounding that makes you stop and stare.