Five Quick and Simple Stress-Releasing Techniques
When the last dreary days of winter are lingering, and tax season is on the horizon, it’s hard to believe there’s a simple way to reduce stress and lift your mood. But when it comes to combating stress levels, these simple techniques will help you relieve tension in minutes. Indeed, you can lower your heart rate, breathe easy, and feel calmer and happier.
Three-part breathing draws attention to three areas of the body, the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest while breathing slowly and deeply. As you fill your lungs with air, imagine your breath moving from your belly, up through your rib cage and into the chest. Exhale completely, reversing the flow.
Guided imagery focuses the imagination on a positive and relaxing image. Imagine something simple that elicits feelings of contentment like sitting in an inner tube floating down a lazy river, or listening to the sounds of the birds as you gently swing in a hammock on a lovely summer day.
Chair yoga is a quick and easy way to relax and stretch while you sit at your desk. Sit comfortably in a chair with both feet resting on the floor. Twist to one side and hold the armrest of your chair to stretch more deeply. Repeat on the other side. Reach up and over your head, feeling a stretch in your rib cage. Finish with eye stretches, pretend to look at giant “clock” and rotate eyes clockwise. This exercise strengthens the eyes when you’ve had a long day of staring at the computer.
Mindfulness meditation is an easy way to reduce stress and boost your mood by taking a few minutes to focus on your breath and stay present without judgment. Research shows that by practicing mindful meditation on a regular basis, concentrations of grey matter increase in regions of the brain that regulate learning, memory and the regulation of emotion.
Color meditation can silence an ongoing loop of negative thoughts through doing something repetitive with your hands like coloring in a coloring book. Different colors represent the seven chakras located in a straight line along your spine. Red alleviates frustration, orange promotes creativity, yellow encourages mental clarity, green induces healing, blue builds confidence, indigo increases intuition, and violet raises consciousness. The rhythmic movement of coloring in a coloring book will help you relax.
Jessica Crofts, L.Ac. SOPHIA Natural Health Center