Stress is something all of us have to deal. It stems from work, our colleagues, and even our own family. But too much stress can be dangerous, especially for one’s mental health. And not everyone has the time to undergo therapy when stress turns into something worse. “Relaxation techniques can help with that; it can bring people down a notch so that they’re not so anxious or negative.” Says Jennifer L. Payne, MD, PhD.
The best thing we can do is keep our stress levels under control. This is so we can work effectively under pressure.
Does stress overburden you? Here are five simple relaxation techniques that may help in calming you down and reduce your stress levels:
Try A Breathing Exercise
Sit still, close your eyes, and begin taking long, deep breaths. Do so slowly, with a hand on your belly to feel its rise and fall. Inhale through your nose. Feel the air circulate through your body. Do the same as you exhale through your mouth.
This is known as abdominal breathing or belly breathing. Doing this helps counter the feeling of stress by slowing one’s heart rate and lowering one’s blood pressure. Leah Lagos, PsyD suggests using deep breath exercises daily to relieve stress. Here’s a simple exercise: Inhale for four seconds, focusing on feelings of anxiety and stress, and exhale for six seconds, focusing on feelings of releasing and letting them go.
Enter A Meditative State
Sit up straight. Make sure both feet are planted flat on the floor. Close your eyes and focus on reciting something positive to yourself. You can say it out loud or in your head. Try something like, “I can do this,” or “I can get through this.”
A habit of meditation can lower stress levels and ease anxiety. Research has also shown that meditating every day can alter a person’s neural pathways. This makes them more resilient when the person is stressed. Psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, from Chicago, says that “Researches have shown regular meditation can help make the brain more resistant to stress.”
Talk To Someone
Your friends and family can help alleviate your stress by simply lending an ear. When you have time, reach out to the people you trust. Invite them out for a couple of hours. If you don’t have the leisure to go out, you can always send them a message. However, face-to-face interaction is preferred.
Spend some quality time with them and open up about what’s stressing you. It’s important to be able to articulate your emotions because it helps you sort through your feelings.
Talking about your emotions takes a weight off of your chest and makes them less scary. It can also help you clarify exactly what you’re feeling. This makes them less scary and easier to deal with. Additionally, your friend or family member can offer words of encouragement and helpful advice.
The value in sharing what you feel with another person is the thought that you don’t have to be alone. Just make sure the person you reach out to won’t make you feel worse.
Create A Go-To Playlist
The right kind of music can also help you release some stress. Take some time to create playlists with music and sounds that have a calming effect on you.
Sounds from nature, like raindrops, waves, or birds chirping, are a good choice. Songs work too. Of course, this varies from one individual to another. Some prefer instrumental pieces, while others prefer songs with lyrics. The chosen genre also depends on the person.
While listening to your playlist, allow yourself to focus on the lyrics, the different instruments, or any particular part of the song. Research shows that listening to music that soothes you can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and even alleviate anxiety.
Mindfulness is a practice that’s been around for a long time but has only gained traction recently. It is both a type of meditation and a way of life. Being mindful can help you reduce stress as well as appreciate the present.
To undergo mindfulness meditation, sit comfortably, breathe deeply, and focus on the present moment. Try your best to not fuss about the past and future. If any thoughts about the past or the future arrive, inspect them for a while, and then send them on their way. Focus, once again, on the present.
Ask yourself, “What are the emotions I’m experiencing right now?”, “What is stressing me out?”, and “How do I feel in the present moment?” As a way of life, one can practice mindfulness by focusing on the actions they’re doing while they’re doing it. Do you notice how our minds tend to go on autopilot when we’re doing mundane things like walking or washing the dishes?
Being mindful means not letting your thoughts wander even while you’re doing such mundane activities. Again, there’s an emphasis on focusing on the present. By doing this, you refrain from worrying about what’s happened in the past or being anxious about what will happen in the future.
These are just some of the best techniques that can help you control your stress levels. Note that if your mental state begins to worsen, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult a professional.