Life can be stressful at times, and we all deal with some amount of stress on a near-daily basis. Between the demands of career, and family and friends, it can be difficult to find time to de-stress and recuperate. Stress negatively impacts on our sense of wellbeing, our social interactions with others, our ability to remain productive and our health.
The good news is that there are several excellent ways to deal with stress. Perhaps the most potent stress reliever around comes in the form of meditation and relaxation techniques. These techniques are specifically designed to calm the mind, and will naturally and effectively chase stress away, allowing you to re-engage with work or playtime in a more meaningful, robust way.
Read on for a quick list of relaxation techniques that you can try out the next time you’re feeling stressed out.
This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the fastest ways to relax and chase stress from your mind and body is to exercise. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels, to help you refocus and relax, and to lower the potentially harmful chemicals that can be released into your bloodstream when you’re under stress.
Exercise is especially helpful when it includes repetitive rhythmic movements, simply because using repetitive movements can be its own form of meditation. If you’d rather not do something particularly strenuous when you’re feeling stressed, then consider doing slow rhythmic exercises like tai-chi or yoga.
The first and easiest way to get into meditation is through simple breathing exercises. Breathing meditation is very relaxing and easy to do in just about any setting.
Start by finding a comfortable sitting position either on the floor, a cushion, or in a chair. Sit, keeping your back straight, and begin to take deep, slow breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on your breathing. As other thoughts interrupt your concentration, allow them to pass from your mind as you return your focus to your breathing. Continue in this manner for fifteen to twenty minutes and the results will be very noticeable.
For those of you looking to go a bit deeper with meditation for relaxation, consider trying mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation begins with the body and by focusing on the breath, as above. Once you’ve achieved a degree of concentration on your breath (after ten or so minutes), begin to let the thoughts that occur to you arise.
At times there may be a great many thoughts arising, and at other times, there may be just a few. Simply sit and notice what happens in your mind, observing the thoughts that intrude on your breathing. After some time and with practice, you should feel your mind begin to quiet, allowing you to refocus on your breath.
Stress Can Only Hurt You if You Let It
Regardless of which stress relief technique you chose, make sure that you do something to ease the stress in your life as often as possible. Stress has a great many negative impacts if you chose to ignore it, or if you adopt the attitude that it’s just a part of life that you’ll have to live with. Good luck relaxing!