Happy holidays! Happy New Year! It is a time of year when we expect to be super heroes and stress ourselves in the trying. I am re-issueing this post as it helped so many earlier in the year. Here’s to a stress free holiday! Cheers!
How about it? Do you have thirty seconds, maybe right NOW, to try to lessen any stress you might be feeling? Maybe thirty seconds won’t remove it completely, for the rest of your life, but it might bring you some new awareness. It could help you develop methods you can effectively use to know when and where you feel the stress and how to combat it. Just thirty seconds! What do you think?
As a teacher of yoga and spiritual practices, stress is one of the most frequent topics raised in classes and individual sessions. No one is completely immune to it. Stress is a fact of life. Forget about making it go away. It won’t. But what CAN go away is our repetitive and non beneficial response to stressful situations. Over time, we can learn to incorporate new responses into our lives, thus lessening the stress we feel.
In the course I teach, called StressLess, there are many remedies offered. Some take longer than others — like lying on the floor for progressive relaxation, or stretching out muscles held tight by tensing our bodies, or meditating, or chanting, or taking the time to learn how to breathe in a non-stressful way. Other methods, however, can be engaged quickly and bring fast results. Here are a few to try yourself, but take note, you MUST give full attention to them for at least thirty seconds:
Loosen the body. Is your neck and jaw line tight? Are your shoulders scrunched up? Is your back tensing? Consciously relax the face and jaw. Let the shoulders drop away from the head. Allow the back to soften, by leaning forward slightly. Maybe drop the head forward and back and to the sides, very slowly. Or rolls the shoulders.
Notice your breathing. Is it agitated, tight, jerky, high in the chest? Force yourself to let the breath move lower, into the belly. Lengthen the breathing, in and out. Make it smooth. Try counting with the breath as your lungs fill and double the count as you exhale. Give focus ONLY to the breath, nothing else.
Choose to repeat an affirmation. It can be anything that is positive and calming. Keep repeating it. Words like: I am calm and peaceful now. My body and mind are relaxing now. I love myself completely right now. Pick a phrase that works for you. Try out a few. But repeat them over and over.
Visualize yourself in your most perfect spot, where you are safe, calm, loved and nurtured. Have that place ready in your mind by choosing one when you are NOT under stress. It can be a place you have been in your past or one that is fictional. It may be by the sea, in the woods, or safe at home. But let all your senses feel that you are there in everything you see, hear, smell, touch, and even taste in the moment you are in the visualization.
Any or all of these suggestions can and do bring relief. Do SOMETHING! Don’t just believe that the stress has got you in its clenches and you can’t get away. It is up to you. Try it! You might like it! All you have to lose is the vise like grip stress can hold and the erosion it does to your body and mind. The more you learn to trust in your own inner wisdom, the less powerful the outer world becomes. Your inner world is where all the power lies anyway — in the heart and soul of your own being.
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