Stressed? 3 Relaxation Tips

Last week my brain was spinning out of control.  Countless fragmented ideas flew around in my head, all madly vying for attention.

If I wasn’t working, I was thinking about things I want to create, ideas I want to put in motion and content I want to write.  But I couldn’t seem to grab onto any specific idea long enough to really examine it.

It was kind of overwhelming.

When things get chaotic it’s easy to start breathing shallowly without even realizing it.  Which can lead to tensing up and becoming anxious.  Which makes it harder to slow down, breathe deeply, gather your thoughts and stay calm.

Kind of a catch-22.

And then I remembered a recent call with a dear friend who reminded me how important it is to BREATHE.  Just breathe.

And that really is the answer to so much.  When you breathe deeply, you slow your heart rate and calm yourself down.  You’re much more able to clear your mind and refocus your thoughts.

Here are a few tips to help bring you back to center:

1. Get horizontal.
Lie down and close your eyes.  (This assumes you’re in an environment where you can reasonably do this – if you’re in public, you may want to skip directly to Step 3).

2. Tighten and then relax your muscles. 
Tense every muscle in your body to the extent you can, including the ones in your fingers, toes and face.  Do this consciously.  Hold all that tension for a few moments.

Then, slooooowly relax all the areas that are tensed up, working your way consciously through your body.  Release the tension in your fingers, for example, then move on to your palms, and so on.  Letting go of all the physical tension feels amazing, and by the time you’ve done it, you’re ready for step 3.

3. Breathe.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, imagining the breath filling every part of your body, even your toes.  Allow it to expand your abdomen (don’t suck in your gut on the inhale).  Hold it for 5-10 seconds if possible.  Then slowly and deeply exhale, tightening your abs towards the end of the exhale to help push out “stale” air.  Do this as many times as it takes for you to feel calm and centered.

Ahhh….. now you’ll be able to view things from a clearer perspective.

How about you – do you have any tried-and-true relaxation tips?

About Christine

Positive thinker. Writer. Lover of travel and adventure, oceans and mountains, and the energy of a big city. Oh, and deep belly laughs, sappy movies and spirited conversations. Believer in limitless human potential.
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7 Responses to Stressed? 3 Relaxation Tips

  1. I love this Christine!! I agree so much that we get very caught up in life and start breathing shallowly. I’ve been trying to do a yoga breathing recommended by Andrew Weil called 4-7-8 breathing. It’s very similar to what you recommend. Breathe in 4 seconds. Hold 7 and breathe 8. It’s working very well. He says if you do it twice a day, 4 times in a row you won’t be the same person in 6 months. Can’t wait to see how I feel in 5 months!! 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Betsy!! Dr. Weil’s breathing sounds amazing – calming and with long-term wellness benefits. Great idea to do this daily! I look forward to hearing how you feel after 5 months!

      Thanks so much for commenting. 🙂

  2. johnandtony1 says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the breathing. I did yoga years ago for years and after I drifted away, I never forgot the breathing part. It is without question the premier weapon in the battle against stress. BTW, I am back doing yoga again and loving it as much as ever.


    • Christine says:

      Yes, I agree. It’s amazing how quickly deep breathing can calm you down, isn’t it? A dear family member is taking a course in deep breathing as he’s heard the incredible health benefits. I’m confident it’ll do wonders for him over the long term.

      That’s great that you’ve taken up yoga again! I took hot yoga for awhile and it was wonderful, though found the heat overwhelming at times. I stopped practicing, though I may take it up again in future – but without the heat.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. I never tried yoga, but this one really helps me realize how important it is. Just like upgrading your potential being a human. Keep out of stress. 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Jason! I agree – we should all nurture our potential and help it grow. 🙂

      Wishing you a wonderful, stress-free holiday season!

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