We all have times when we experience the stress of everyday life - I promise it’s not just you! Though stress is the number one negative impact on our health, we don't have to give into it. How long we let stress stay with us - and keep us in that dangerous heightened state - can be the difference between a bad moment and a bad few days or more.
Here are 4 simple tricks you can call on anytime you feel stress start to come up to shorten the time it effects you and move on to better feelings.
1. Sigh out - If you take notice of your upper body when you’re feeling stress, you’ll likely feel that your shoulders are tense around your neck and you’re taking short breaths from your chest. The first step is to sigh out - all the way out, letting your shoulders drop down and all the air flow out of you.
2. Deep belly breaths - Next, put your hand on your stomach and breath in right through your belly, feeling the breathe push your hand up and out, getting you back down in your body. As you breath out, feel your hand moving in towards your spine. Repeat this at least 5 times, taking deeper inhales and exhales (see if you can count to 7 or 8) until you begin to feel relief wash over you.
3. Leaves on a stream - If you’re overwhelmed and experiencing too many thoughts, build on the breath by adding in a practice of clearing the mind. Start by closing your eyes, keeping your hand on the stomach to remind you to keep your inhales and exhales long and deep. Imagine a stream in a quiet place that feels peaceful. Each time you experience a thought, see it as a leaf dropping into the river and floating away. The thoughts are still coming, but you can use your awareness to watch them float by instead of engaging with them.
4. Grounding - When stress hits big it can make us feel off-kilter, as if we can’t feel the ground beneath our feet. Combat this by putting your focus on your feet, feeling them in your shoes or on the ground beneath you. Feel that you are being supported by the earth. You can do this right in your office chair, or even if you’re in the car - simply feel the seat under you and your connection to it with your body. This simple practice helps you relax into your body and will redirect your busy thoughts.
Remember to breathe, babe. You got this.