Three easy ways to reduce stress
Stress in itself is a good thing. It motivates us to be successful in life. It is only when stress becomes unrelenting that it impacts health. We need to be able to lower our stress levels to return the body to a state of equilibrium to stay healthy.
Here are three strategies that, when practiced regularly can keep you in a positive state of balance to stay well.
1. Take 10 Belly Breaths
Use a normal breath. Inhale and push your stomach away from the body. Exhale and press the stomach toward the spine. Continue until you have done 10 breaths or until you feel your breathing slow down.
Picture a scene where you could go to find relaxation. It could be a deserted beach, the top of a beautiful mountain, sitting beside a waterfall or even just sitting in a quiet room by yourself. Sit for a couple of minutes and actually form that picture in your mind and focus on it. Use belly breathing at the same time to calm your mind.
3. Try Progressive Relaxation
Start at the top of your head, tighten and then, relax different body parts. Here’s how it works: shrug your shoulders up to your ears and hold for a 10 count. Then, relax. Or, clench your hands for a 10 count and relax. Tighten your stomach and relax. Move down your body and end at your feet. This can be done anywhere. You will slowly relax all of the muscles in your body and will feel calmer and more in control.
Use any of these techniques as many times in the day as you need them to feel the difference between tension and relaxation in your body and mind. Once you are aware of the difference, you will want to return to relaxation whenever you feel stressed.
COMING UP: Next week’s blog will look at using stretching to lower stress to lead you to a healthy, active life.