This is Part 5 in the series All About Stress. See Part 1 – Connection between Stress and Health, 2 – Telltale Symptoms of Stress, 3 – What Causes You to Stress, and 4 – What to Change to Experience Less Stress.
Stress is inevitable. Even if it were possible to eliminate all the triggers of stress from your life, there would always be the unexpected, the influences of the wandering mind, and environmental fluctuations that will trigger a stress response in the body.
So, when that happens, what can you do?
You would counteract the effects of stress with relaxation techniques.
Relaxation Tips and Techniques
Find a breathing technique that’s easy and suits you well, then use it anytime you feel a shallowness of breath, tense shoulders, or a sense of being stressed.
You can try deep belly breathing: fully inflating the lungs by letting the abdomen relax and the belly area seem to fill with air, then continue the inhale to also puff the chest before letting the exhale slowly release everything back down.
Pursed lips: Inhale through your nose for a count of 8, pucker your lips and exhale slowly to the count of 16. Concentrate on the long sighing sound and feel the tension dissolve.
Alternate nostril breathing: use your thumb and ring finger to cover both nostrils, then lift the ring finger to breathe in through the left nostril; at the top of the inhale, close it off and exhale through the right nostril by lifting your thumb; repeat breathing in through the right, pause, switch fingers and out through the left.
Any of the breathing techniques should be repeated 10 times.
Sit in an upright position, palms facing upward on your legs. Close your eyes and observe your breath. Without changing or controlling your breath, begin to count as you inhale = 1, exhale = 2, inhale = 3, exhale = 4, continuing until you reach 10. If your mind wanders and starts thinking about something else or returns to its worries, return again to counting from 1. It may take you many many times to get to 10. This is normal. Continue for 5-10 minutes.
Or check out my guide to meditation.
Heated Face Massage
Heat a washcloth or small towel to as hot as your skin will tolerate. Hold the washcloth to your face. Close your else and gently rub the cloth over your face as if you were massaging your face. This will help to release tension from the face and jaw and improve circulation while warming the hands.
Everyday, do something you really enjoy.
Do some strenuous physical exercise, particularly if your stress feels like angry stress.
Get a massage.
Take a hot bath with Epsom salts.
Practice Yin yoga or other slow stretching movement.
Sing or listen to soothing or uplifting music.
Try a process of progressive relaxation whereby you tense and release each muscle group starting with the foot: tense and relax; the ankle: tense and relax; the lower leg: tense and relax, etc.
Keep this handy so anytime you feel the stress response creep into your body, you have some go-to relaxation methods to help calm you down and restore balance. Having Balance Spray handy is another great way to return to an even keel when the seas are too rocky. Peace and calm can be yours.
Tell us in the comments below, what is your favorite relaxation technique?