Stress is a normal part of life, but living in a state of constant, chronic stress is not healthy. Here are three simple things you can do today to help you relax and reduce the impact of stress on your body and mind.
Deep breathing can be used to quickly reduce stress and tension. It increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a calming “rest and digest” response. Breathing techniques help you feel more connected to your body and quiets your mind. Try one of the deep breathing techniques linked below.
Emotional stress can build up in our bodies and cause tension in the head, neck, and shoulders. Stretching is one easy way to relax and calm your muscles. Try the following stretches throughout your day or whenever you notice yourself feeling tense.
- Cable Stretch:
- While sitting with chin in, stomach in, shoulders relaxed, hands in lap, and feet flat on the floor, imagine a cable pulling your head upward. Hold for 3 seconds and relax. Repeat 3 times.
- Neck Stretch:
- Tilt head to one side (ear towards shoulder). Hold for 15 seconds. Relax. Repeat 3 times on each side.
- Diagonal Neck Stretch:
- Turn head slightly and look down as if looking in your pocket. Hold for 15 seconds. Relax. Repeat 3 times on each side.
- Shoulder Shrug:
- Slowly bring shoulders up to the ears and hold for approximately 3 seconds. Rotate shoulders back and down. Repeat 10 times.
Many times, the stress we experience is because we are replaying something that has already happened or worrying about something that might occur in the future. The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique can help you keep your thoughts in the present moment by using your five senses to identify tangible things around you. Bringing your thoughts to the present moment can lower anxiety and ease your mind through stressful situations. The next time you notice your thoughts racing, take a deep breath, and do the following:
- Identify 5 things you can see.
- Identify 4 things that you can touch.
- Identify 3 things you can hear.
- Identify 2 things you can smell.
- Identify 1 thing you can taste.