Sometimes it seems our days are just jumping from one challenging situation to another one. What stress reduction tips can we implement when we are on the go and don't have time to to run to the gym, get a massage or go to a relaxing yoga class?
The key is to learn to diminish or eliminate our reactions when they are starting to take root. Often we divide our lives into the weekend vs the work week and hope that the weekend will be the time we regenerate our energy. This often doesn't work as a plan as the weekend often becomes the time to catch up on errands or turns out to be a time to fulfill obligations.
I have found that is more effective to use the work week as the actual time to watch the mind and assist it in unwinding in the midst of difficult situations. This enables you to have tools to stop the tension and learn about your reactions. It works better than waiting for the weekend or the vacation to remove the stress.
One important stress reduction tip is to watch your breathing and practice making it stay slow and even if you are disturbed by a remark of a co-worker, interaction with your child or mounting tension in your body due to a deadline. A good way to practice this is to take a slow and deep breath and hold it for five to ten seconds. Exhale it out and then hold it out for five to ten seconds. This is called the suspended breath in yoga and those five seconds after the inhalation and after the exhalation are very useful in achieving an inner calmness. This trains the mind to relax and can be carried into work, sports, mothering, school and any context where anxiety starts to arise.
A second important stress reduction tip is to take a few minutes to gain perspective. Think about whether this situation will bother you in three months or not. It helps to also think about others in much more difficult situations. This creates a sense of gratitude. For instance, if you feel awful that your son just struck out in the baseball game, think about the fact that he is healthy, has no handicap and can run around.
The mind and breath are very powerful tools to release the mind from anxiety and bring stress reduction tips into daily situations. Don't hold your breath, wait for the weekend or stay in fantasies. Instead, use the challenges that are presented each day as the fuel for increased self-awareness.
Dee Cohen is a licensed social worker. Stop by Stress Reduction Tips where you can visit and learn practical ways to stop stress during the day at http://www.outside-the-box.net/sample-stress-booklet-tips.html