1. Begin performing Progressive Muscle Relaxation
By tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in your body, you can relieve tension and feel much more relaxed in minutes, with no special training or equipment. Start by tensing all the muscles in your face, holding a tight grimace ten seconds, then completely relaxing for ten seconds. Repeat this with your neck, followed by your shoulders, etc. You can do this anywhere, and as you practice, you will find you can relax more quickly and easily, reducing tension as quickly as it starts!
2. Performing Basic Breathing
Deep breathing is an easy stress reliever that has numerous benefits for the body, including oxygenating the blood, which ‘wakes up’ the brain, relaxing muscles and quieting the mind. Breathing exercises are especially helpful because you can do them anywhere, and they work quickly so you can de-stress in a flash. To start:
a. Sit or stand in a relaxed position.
b. Slowly inhale through your nose, counting to five in your head.
c. Let the air out from your mouth, counting to eight in your head as it leaves your lungs. Repeat several times or stop whenever you are ready for the next step.
Meditation builds on deep breathing, and takes it a step further. When you meditate, your brain enters an area of functioning that’s similar to sleep, but carries some added benefits you can’t achieve as well in any other state, including the release of certain hormones that promote health. Also, the mental focus on nothingness keeps your mind from working overtime and increasing your stress level. To start:
a. Quiet Your Mind. Stop focusing on the stressors of your day or your life’s problems, as well as solving these problems. Just let that voice in your head be quiet,
b. Be in the now. Don’t focus on the past or future, be in the now. This involves experiencing each moment and letting it go, experiencing the next.
4. Relax with Guided Imagery
Guided Imagery is a convenient and simple relaxation technique that can help you quickly and easily manage stress and reduce tension in your body. It’s virtually as easy as indulging in a vivid daydream and, with practice, this technique can help you to better access your inner wisdom. You can find guided imagery sounds on itunes or other music online sites.