By Vonnie Kennedy
Do you get stressed about the simplest things and wonder how other people handle it when you can't? It doesn't matter how they handle it, it matters the way you handle it.
Try these simple 5-minute techniques and let the stress go.
1. Meditate by Square Breathing
Sometimes people avoid meditation because they think it should be done on a mat for at least an hour. Try square breathing for 5 minutes -- in the car, at work, in bed -- anywhere.
Focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose and slowly count to 4 (to yourself). Hold your breath for 4 counts. Exhale through mouth for 4 counts. Rest for 4 and repeat. When your attention starts to wander, bring your mind back to your breathing.
2. Reframe your Thoughts
Do you often let your mind wander to negative thoughts? For instance, you see an ad on TV about Alzheimer's disease and it reminds you that your mother had Alzheimer's and why couldn't have you done more for her?
Replace that thought with a positive image. A beautiful sunflower or a place that makes you happy. You can't fix the past or predict the future. Let it go.
3. Stay in the present
"Mindfulness is the here-and-now approach to living that makes daily life richer and more meaningful," says Claire Michaels Wheeler, MD, PhD, author of 10 Simple Solutions to Stress. Staying in the "Now" is a great defense against anxiety and depression.
Instead of texting on your iPhone, focus on what's happening around you such as a robin singing from a nearby tree, the drumbeat of the song playing on the radio, or the way your dog is smiling at you. Stay in the present and stress will be unable to creep into your mind.
4. Show Some Love
"Induce the relaxation response by cuddling your pet, giving an unexpected hug to a friend or family member, snuggling with your spouse, or talking to a friend about the good things in your lives," said psychologist Deborah Rozman, PhD, co-author of Transforming Stress.
"When you do, you'll be reducing your stress levels." Even complimenting a co-worker can help.
5. Try Self-Massage
Feeling tense? This simple self-massage technique from Darrin Zeer, author of "Lover's Massage and Office Yoga" can help you relax.
• Place hands on your shoulders and neck.
• Squeeze with your fingers and palms.
• Rub vigorously, keeping shoulders relaxed.
• Wrap one hand around the other forearm.
• Squeeze the muscles with thumb and fingers.
• Move up and down from your elbow to fingertips and back again.
• Repeat with other arm.
6. Lose the Attitude
A negative attitude is very draining and can be bad for your health. Instead of focusing on a lazy co-worker, think about how well YOU are doing. Think the boss won't appreciate it? Who cares!
Focusing on your own positive, self-worth is much more rewarding than trying to live up to someone else's expectations. Doing the best you can is enough.
7. Do a Body Scan
This technique is good when lying down at bedtime. Start by focusing on toes and become aware the sensations, whether that's pain, tension, warmth or relaxation. Do this for a few minutes then move up to heal, top of foot, ankle, and continue on by relaxing each body part at a time. Don't be surprised if you're asleep before you finish.
Practice these stress-reducing techniques daily and soon you will be able to control your anxiety, think more positively, and increase your happiness genes. It's all good.
Sources and Further Reading:
Quick Coherence Technique. Heartmath.com. Web. 2, July, 2012
Three Minutes to Stress Relief. Medicinenet.com. Web. 2, July, 2012
Reframing and Stress Management. Stress.about.com. Web. 2, July, 2012
FEEL HAPPY AND STRESS-FREE: 7 SIMPLE TIPS TO STAY IN THE NOW. Tinybuddha.com. Web. 2, July, 2012
http://tinybuddha.com/blog/feel-happy-and-stress-free-7-simple-tips-to-stay-in-the-now Blissing Out: 10
Relaxation Techniques To Reduce Stress On-the-Spot. Webmd.com. Web. 2, July, 2012
Reviewed July 2, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
By Vonnie Kennedy