Stuck in the moment? Need to unwind? Feeling the stress hormones running through your body? Sure… there are many long-term fixes for easing your stress, but sometimes you just need to feel better right now.
Get away from your phone, your computer, the TV or anything else electronic. If possible go outside and try to find a little patch of nature. Maybe it’s a bit of a grass, leaning up against a tree or staring at some flowers.
Why reconnect with nature? Electronics are under our control; nature isn’t. Watch the breeze blow the leaves in the tree, take a moment to look at the little bugs crawling on blades of grass. By taking a moment from being bombarded by sounds, flashing images and advertisements you can be reminded that the world is much bigger than the tiny one you make for yourself. When you are stressing over deadlines, relationships or finances – you can step outside of it all and take in a quiet reminder that everything outside is going to continue regardless of the issues you have going on right now. Take a moment to appreciate the quiet and steady rhythm of nature and let yourself be a part of it for a few moments.
When you are stressed, stress hormones are coursing through your body. You can feel them running through your veins; you can feel it in the pit of your stomach or maybe around your heart or manifesting as tension in your head. Movement helps circulate everything in your body and help deplete the build-up of stress hormones.There is a reason it is called the “fight or flight” response – we have stress hormones in our body that are telling us to move! There is no such thing as a “sit there and worry” response. Take a few minutes to spin in circles, jump up and down, do some pushups or go for a walk. Do what you can to increase your heart rate and move your body and you will likely start feeling better right away.
Just like in step one – get away from everything. Find somewhere quiet to sit or stand and allow yourself 5-10 minutes of not feeling guilty for not checking your email, your phone or Facebook and just breathe. Hold your breath in your body for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 4. Repeat as necessary.When we are stressed, our breathing naturally becomes constricted and shallow. This hunches our bodies over and pulls our shoulders forward. With deep, steady breathing, we can open up the front of our bodies, slow our breath and calm our minds. Slower breathing is a physical response that lets our bodies know that we don’t have a reason to be stressed and we can relax.
4. Dump Your Brain
Can’t quiet your mind before bed or when you are trying to relax? Give your brain a break. Write down everything that is nagging at you. Give the pen and paper permission to hold your anxieties and duties on your behalf – by giving your brain permission to let it go for a bit, you can escape the circular thoughts that often accompany stressful states of mind.
Stretching is different than fast movement because it allows you to pay attention and check in with how your body is feeling. Where do you feel tight? Where do you feel tense? How can you move your body to alleviate that tension? The day-to-day rigor of work, working out and just living causes our bodies to naturally compress, tighten and cause misalignments of all kinds. If you can take time to rotate your shoulders, stretch out your hips and move your back and neck — or even better, invert! — you are taking care of your body and helping work out minor misalignments before they turn into larger problems.