When stress, anxiety, or even just the busy nature of everyday life becomes a little too much to handle, finding the right time and place to rejuvenate your mind and body can feel nearly impossible. It’s not like you can just drop everything right in the moment and take a spa day or go on a week-long yoga retreat, right?
While taking time for yourself to relax after work, on the weekends, and during your vacation time is important for your wellbeing, there are also a few “quick fix” techniques you can use to instantly calm your nerves, release muscle tension, and regain mental clarity. Best of all, you can take as little as a few seconds to a minute to do them, and you can use these techniques almost anytime, anywhere.
Breathe slowly, deeply, and evenly. Deep breathing from the abdomen (in through the nose, out through the mouth) helps to slow a racing heart and stabilize blood pressure. It can also help clear your mind and rid that anxious, tight sensation in the chest associated with shallow breathing.
Step out of your environment. Your current environment may be swirling with negative energies from other people, physical clutter, toxins in the air, or even thoughts and emotions that were created by you. Step into another room, or better yet — go outside — for a minute or as long as you like to cleanse and refresh yourself.
Use color association. This is an interesting technique from author Tony Wrighton. For a simplified version, begin by selecting a calming color like blue or green and then think of a time when you felt most relaxed as you stare at the color for several moments to set the association. Stick a colored dot or square piece of paper somewhere you look often (like the back of your phone) and then look at it any time you need to relax a bit.
Do child’s pose. You do’t necessarily need an hour-long restorative yoga session to center your breath, mind, and body. Child’s pose is one of the main resting poses in yoga, best known to relieve stress and promote a calming sensation while lengthening the spine. If getting on the floor isn’t an option, you can opt to do a forward bend instead. Check out these four other yoga pose that help relieve stress and anxiety.
Turn on some soothing music or nature sounds. You can use a free app or website like YouTube or SoundCloud from your computer or mobile device. Grab a pair of headphones and search for ambient music, classical music, or nature sounds like ocean waves. Close your eyes and place your awareness on the sounds as you slow and deepen your breathing.
Massage pressure points within the body. There are pressure points all over the body typically targeted in reflexology to relieve stress. An easy one to start is the shoulder well — a point on the ridge of the shoulder about halfway between the edge of your shoulder and the base of your neck. Apply pressure here with your index finger for 30 seconds or longer to eliminate tension and promote better flow of energy.
All of these techniques can help to relieve stress and induce relaxation in a matter of seconds. Pick one or two as your go-to techniques to keep in mind next time life feels a little overwhelming.