There are several techniques that we can use at any time of the day to bring a sense of calmness to the mind and body. Below are some ways we can get started on our path to relaxation. Learn what works best for you!
Consciously Practice Deep Breathing
Throughout the day we unintentionally hold our breath or take short, quick breathing patterns. This repetition of such short breathing can increase our stress levels as well as other health conditions. Focus on making exhales longer - inhale while counting to 4, exhale counting to 8.
- This practice of deep breathing increases the lung capacity while bringing more oxygen supply to the blood, and can even help the body rid itself of toxins. When receive benefits such as this we become more able to handle our temper or reactions, improve concentration, reduce stress, anger and anxiety levels.
Make The Effort To Be Present With Yourself
Stop or slow down for a minute. Bring your attention towards your actions and notice how you may be thinking. Violent, judgmental, or negative thoughts are just as harmful as physical actions. Make an effort to practice acceptance, confidence and love towards the self. Over time this action will naturally be put outwards without any effort!
Focus On Muscle Relaxation
When we are deep in thought our muscles subconsciously tense up and most oftenly within our forehead, jaw, and shoulders. Throughout the day, start to pay attention to when these muscles are tense. If you notice you are frowning during work or school, focus on relaxing these muscles (especially on exhalations). You can almost instantly feel the change in your body and mind!
Remember, Things Aren't Always Perfect
In the world today, everyone is always striving to be perfect. Remind yourself that things may not always go your way, and you may not exceed the expectations of others (or even your own). This may be difficult for some to fully accept, and that is okay. This will take time and may require one to slightly change their way of thinking. This involves acceptance, contentment, and understanding that things may not always go to plan. You may want to read into two of the yamas and niyamas in the eight limbs of yoga, which are called Ahimsa and Santosha.
Bring Your Attention To Your Surroundings
If you have been busy at work or studying, simply take a 5 minute break to stop and look around at your surroundings. What do you see? Hear? What is on contact with your body - the chair, table, clothes? What do you smell? Use visualization and explore all of your senses. This will bring attention to the world around you, giving your mind a break from any strenuous thinking.
Spend Time In Nature - Go For A Long Walk/Drive
Walking is a great form of stress relief, or even taking a long amount of time for yourself such as sitting somewhere quiet or driving will help the mind and body recollect. Turn off technology and social media. Sometimes we need to be alone and focus on the needs of ourselves.
Create A Gratitude/Stress Relief Journal
Both of these are even used in Occupational Therapy. It’s good to vent, but venting may not always be the right idea if you are venting to the wrong person, especially if the emotions or frustration you are feeling are only passing. If you need to lash out, try writing in a journal! Ask yourself how you are feeling and why, considering the sources of your stress. This can help you sort out and understand what you are feeling, and what you are needing. Then, provide everything you are grateful for, why you are awesome, and also make a game plan about how you can change your current situation for the better.
And last but not least, laugh! 🙂