Feeling stressed? In this fast-paced world, stress is almost as much a part of life as breathing. But, taking time to practice easy stress soothers can make a world of difference. You’ll find you can alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety in simple ways that take five minutes or less.
Most of us, especially those of us who suffer from stress, do not take full, deep breaths. Instead of our breathing extending deep, so that our bellies rise and fall with our breath, we take shallow breaths that lead to more tension, not less.
Here’s a simple breathing technique that can help you slow down and breathe deep–and relieve some stress:
Inhale for four slow seconds (one Mississippi… two Mississippi…), hold for three seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Try to inhale and exhale so deeply that your belly expands out and in (sometimes called yogic breathing). Repeat twice more.
Why it works: Slow, deep inhales and exhales activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers blood pressure, decreases the stress hormone cortisol and eases your “fight or flight” response.
Make Exercise Fun
Take a brisk walk outside, preferably with a coworker or friend who can make you laugh.
Why it works: It’s a stress-relief trifecta: Exercise, nature and laughter all relieve stress by triggering the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones, from your brain. Spending time outside, especially in a forested park or other green area instead of a city street, is linked to better blood pressure.
Place a few drops of lavender essential oil in a diffuser to imbue your office with calming scents. Work in a cubicle? Try using an aromatherapy necklace so you alone can smell it.
Why it works: Research suggests that inhaling certain essential oils such as lavender can quell stress and tension, possibly by igniting the smell receptors in your nose to send soothing signals to your brain.
Stress happens, but putting stressors into perspective and giving your mind and body stress breaks can help you cope.
Article copyright 2018 by Delicious Living and Jenna Blumenfeld. All rights reserved. Used with permission.