We all know that life can be stressful to the point of madness. And while it’s perfectly okay to have enough and just break, it can be quite counterproductive and set us back. So a much better option is to recognize when you are getting tense and frustrated, and counteract it with some relaxing techniques. But noticing when we’re getting frustrated isn’t always easy, so it’s a good practice to check in with yourself a couple of times throughout the day and actually acknowledge how you’re feeling. And even if you’re not particularly frustrated, these practices will do you good:
This might seem completely counter-intuitive at first. Why would we want to tense up if we are already not feeling relaxed? But go ahead: right now, try clenching every muscle in your body. Tighten up and hold it for as long as you can. It’s not too long, and after muscles have been tense for a while, they simply must relax. This simultaneous relaxation of all of your muscles will not only let your body calm down, but also let relax your mind and thoughts. It is also a fairly unnoticeable technique, so you can do it in an environment where you don’t feel comfortable enough to, for example, get up and do yoga.
We are still very much controlled by our animal instincts, and it’s very visible in situations when we feel frustrated. Our fight or flight system goes into full gear: our heart rate raises and our breathing gets shallow and fast. But the moment you become aware of that, you can do something about it. Take a few deep breaths and hold them in for as long as it feels comfortable before you exhale. That little pause is what sends the signal throughout your body that you are not in any danger, and helps you relax and keep a cool head.
Get in touch with water
Water has an amazing ability to help us calm down, especially if the water itself is still or slowly flowing. Ideally, there will be comfortable baths that you can dip into and enjoy the benefits of a hot bath, like the relaxation of muscles, lowered heart rate and better sleep when you get out. However, even if you can’t fill a tub and submerge yourself, you can go to the bathroom, splash your face with some water or at least open a tap and let the water flow over your hands. Something as simple as that will help calm you down.
Imagine stress is like a ball of energy inside of you, and you need to get it out. One of the easiest ways to let go of stress is to start walking. Get get some fresh air and walk at a fast pace. The more you walk, the more you will feel your mind clearing up. Getting rid of some excess energy will help you focus on important things and forget the stress. And if the situation is truly turbulent, finding a soundproof space to scream or safely punch something a few times can be your vent – just make sure you’re not hurting anyone while doing so, and that you are storming out in the middle of a conversation.
Our minds can easily reflect our surroundings, and if you are working or living among clutter and mess, you might start to feel stressed about it. However, even if the mess isn’t the cause of your stress, putting everything back into place and making the space tidy will help you feel like you have everything under control and help you get your thoughts in order. If you are on the go, this can be reorganizing your bag, the apps on your phone or just making a fresh new to-do list for the day.
So if you are feeling a bit tense, close your eyes and try one of these easy relaxing techniques.