Most people accept that some level of stress is a part of our everyday lives. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn stress-relieving techniques in order to combat its negative effects.
Lie down on your back and place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath through your nose while trying only to move the hand on your belly; the hand on your chest should stay still.
This is a deep “belly breath” that moves your diaphragm, thereby stimulating your vagus nerve, and activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
This type of breathing technique is great to use right before you go to sleep, and will help you attain greater, more restorative rest.
While lying on your back, or sitting comfortably in a chair, close your eyes and imagine submersing your whole body in a warm bath. Starting at your head, clench the muscles around your eyes and then release. Continue around your entire head, contracting and then releasing the muscles around your mouth, your nose, your neck. Then, begin to move down your body, and out into each of your limbs, contracting each muscle group for a moment, and then releasing the contraction.
After you’ve reached your feet, and have gone through the technique on your whole body, you should feel very relaxed, rested, and restored.
This technique, also, is a great one to perform before bed.
Whereas the first two techniques are great for bedtime, meditation is a helpful technique to perform anytime, anywhere!
Begin by sitting in a comfortable position, with eyes closed. As you relax, tune everything out but your breathing. Your breathing should become your focus, and as your mind begins to wander, acknowledge that, but bring your focus back to your breathing each time. This is easier said than done, and does take some practice.
The wonderful thing about meditation is that it is a technique that you can carry with you and utilize in just about any situation where you begin to feel stress. No one else needs to be aware that you’re even doing it.
Between these three techniques: diaphragmatic breathing, full-body relaxation, and meditation, you have a whole arsenal of stress-relieving skills at your disposal to use whenever you feel stress creeping into your life. Use them whenever and wherever you feel the need!