We talk a lot about stress here – why it’s bad for you, how it can take a toll on both your mind and body – so are you ready to get yours under control?

There are some big changes we need to make at times to get stress under control, like changing jobs or altering our relationships. But there are many more small tips and techniques you can try today – right now! – to get your anxiety under control and put more peace back into your life.

Simple Relaxation Techniques

You don’t need a spa weekend or a retreat. Each of these stress-relieving tips can get you from OMG to om in less than 15 minutes.

Meditate

A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.

It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.

Breathe Deeply

Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.

“Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.

Be Present

Slow down.

“Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.

When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.

Reach Out

Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others — preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.

Tune In to Your Body

Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.

– via WebMD

Ready to take back control and stop feeling ruled by the stress in your life? So much of this battle is fought in your mind! The stress in our lives is usually brought on by outside sources – our jobs, our families, our responsibilities – but the toll it takes is within our minds and bodies.

So let’s start today to remember how much power we truly have over our thoughts and win the battle over anxiety and negativity together!

Beat stress with your mind

• Closely studied by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University, the relaxation response has been clinically proven to short-circuit stress. Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place. Close your eyes. Now choose a word or phrase to focus on (“It’s okay,” for example). As you concentrate on breathing in and out, repeat the phrase each time you exhale. If you get distracted by other thoughts, gently put them out of your mind and return to your word or phrase. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. Practice at least once a day.

• Research has found that music can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and even levels of stress hormones in the blood. Take a break and listen to music you find soothing, whether it’s classical, jazz, or something else.

• Do a time-travel exercise. When you’re feeling knotted up with some immediate concern, remember something that had you feeling equally tense a year ago. How important does it seem today? Now try to project a year into the future, and look back on your present dilemma. Chances are, that “leap forward” in time will give you a better perspective on what you’re going through now.

Take a progressive approach

• When you feel especially tense, try a technique called progressive relaxation. Sit or lie down in a quiet, comfortable place. Close your eyes. Now curl your toes as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Then relax them. After your toes, tense and relax your feet, legs, belly, fingers, arms, neck, and face. In other words, progressively “work” the tension all the way from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, and then “let it go.”

– via www.besthealthmag.ca

How do you get your stress under control? Have any of these techniques worked for you in the past?