A stress relief kit would be handy to have when the going gets tough. But sometimes, it's hard to carry things with you. Who remembers to always pack some herbal tea or aromatherapy. Maybe you left your iPod with the soothing music at home. And it's not always convenient to take a nice hot bath.
Does that mean you have to suffer? Not by a long shot. There are quite a few very effective techniques that require absolutely nothing other than your willingness to remember to do them. And remembering them may not be as easy as it seems - after all, we often get so preoccupied with whatever is stressing us out that we don't even think of the very things that could make us feel better.
It may take a bit of effort, but it's effort that pays handsome dividends when you navigate life's stressful situations calmly and confidently. So here are five no-equipment-required techniques you can add to your personal stress relief kit. They'll always be there for you anywhere you go:
1. Breathing. Deep breathing and slow breathing, preferably in combination. Actually, they do tend to come together, because if you're breathing slowly, you'll actually have to breathe deeply. If we get stressed, our breath becomes very shallow. And just reversing that tendency has an instantly calming effect.
2. Think “at least. " Whatever may have gone wrong (or is threatening to go wrong), think of all the things that are working fine. I remember days when I thought my house of card was finally going to go down in flames. But when I walked out of the building where I lived, I made it a point to notice the sunshine and enjoy its warmth on my face. I paid conscious attention to and felt appreciation for the fact that I was able to walk out of the building, that I could see the blue sky, and that I was fully functional and feeling really quite well. My mood would lift, and eventually, the potential disaster was averted as well, once I was calm enough to deal with whatever gave me grief.
3. Express gratitude, in writing, out loud, or in your heart, whatever seems most appropriate for the occasion. If you make a long list of things and people you're grateful for, you calm down surprisingly quickly. Try it. It works.
4. EFT, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique. It's a highly effective technique where you tap on certain meridian points and repeat a set of statements that are relevant to your situation. I've gone literally from a panic attack to utter calm after just a few minutes of tapping. And I've taught it to others as well, who are usually quite astonished at the difference it makes. Its effects are so immediate and spectacular, it almost feels like a parlor trick.
5. Gently stroke your forearms. Don't laugh! It has a surprisingly soothing effect. Imagine someone else stroking your arms, someone you like. That would make you feel good and calmer too. The nice thing is that you can do this for yourself.
Now the tough thing of course is to actually remember those techniques when you're stressed, and to use them, one after the other. Take a few deep, slow breaths. Pay attention to how you feel. Give thanks for all the good things in your life. And learn EFT so it's available to you anytime you need it. It takes minutes and can be done almost anywhere.
For more stress-busting techniques, get Elisabeth Kuhn's new ebook, which also includes detailed instructions on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): http://www.InstantStressReliefStrategies.com