Small Steps Can Help Reduce Stress Now!

If you ask any group of people today whether they experience stress in their daily lives, chances are most of them if not all will answer with a big YES! If you asked the same group if they would like to reduce stress in their lives you would get another big YES!

The strange thing about the way stress affects our thinking is that we often feel so confused or overwhelmed that we think we can’t do anything about it. Nothing could be more wrong.

In fact, you can start on a road to reducing your stress by taking some very small steps. The key here is you must take the action. Take heart! Even these very simple and small actions can make a real impact and help reduce stress in  your life.

Take a look at these simple stress reducers.

Meditate

No need to go on a retreat to the mountains—five minutes of peace is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. There’s evidence that just two quick bouts of silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression . Find a comfortable spot in a quiet place, concentrate on your breath, and feel those anxieties start to disappear.

Lay Your Head on a Cushion or Pillow

There are days when all we really need is a nice, long nap. But it’s not always possible to start snoring in the middle of the office. If you’ve got a pillow, you’re already on the road to relaxation. Try this visualization technique: Lay your head down for a few minutes and imagine the pillow is a sponge sucking up all your worries.

Remember to Breathe

Is there any simpler way to relax? Slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate . For the fancy noses out there, try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique’s supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body (and possibly eliminating the need for a tissue).

Try Progressive Relaxation

Anxious? Just squeeze, release, and repeat. Progressive relaxation involves tensing the muscles in one body part at a time to achieve a state of calm . The method (also used by actors) is a great way to help fall asleep.

Count Backward

Nope, it’s not an IQ test, but it is a way to relax. When worries are running rampant, try slowly counting to 10 and then back again to calm down. It’s harder to freak about an upcoming date or job interview when you’re busy remembering what number comes before seven. (Hey, kindergarten was a long time ago.) – Greatist

Breathing Changes Can Reduce Stress

Don’t worry we aren’t talking about changing the way you breath all the time! Instead, if you can practice these simple breathing exercises and do them a couple of times a day even that small step can greatly reduce your stress and the positive effects increase over time!

Focus on your breath

Technique one: Belly Breathing

In order to breathe more fully, work toward abdominal or “belly” breathing, which is where your abdomen expands outward during inhalation. This is a more natural way to breath, and is how people tend to breathe as they sleep. Many people don’t belly breath because they’re used to holding in their stomach or wearing tight clothing. If you aren’t belly breathing you are constricting your ability to take full, deep breaths. To see if this is happening, put your hand on your stomach and feel if the abdomen expands as you inhale. A helpful idea is to imagine you are  filling a balloon when you breathe in, and letting the air out of a balloon as you exhale.

Technique two: Make your breaths slower, deeper, quieter, more regular

When people are emotionally upset their breathing tends to become shallow, rapid, loud, and irregular. The key to maintaining a calm and relaxed state is to focus on breathing deeper, quieter, and slower. Doing this when you’re feeling upset, provides the means to voluntarily change your breathing pattern to begin calming the body and neutralizing anxiety before it escalates. Take a deep breath and focus consciously on making it deeper, slower, quieter, and regular. Do this for a few cycles.

– You Have A Calling

What daily routines do you have now that reduce stress for you?