3 Most Effective Stress Release Techniques

Do you feel like if your shoulder muscles were any tighter from stress, they would actually pull away from your collar bones? Does your world have you so tied up in knots right now that half of the time you don’t know if you’re coming or going? Here are 3 most effective stress release techniques to help you deal with stress.

Stress impacts every area of your life. Physically it creates chest pains, headaches, muscle fatigue and a weakened immune system. Mentally it makes you less able to deal with life’s little bumps, shortens your fuse and doesn’t allow you to see things clearly or with any type of real focus.

And, it doesn’t always come from events that are ‘negative’; it can from positive, happy events too. If you’re getting married, expecting a child or trying to find your way in a new position at work that is a promotion, you’re still going to feel the same effects. Feel them long enough and you’re looking at some potentially serious negative consequences.

Letting go of things that seem to be commandeering your life isn’t just a luxury that you can enjoy from time to time. You should view it as more of a necessity; something good for your health that requires daily attention, like brushing your teeth or taking a multivitamin.

When you take the time to regularly decompress, you’ll notice a greater ability to deal with whatever hurdles life throws your way without feeling like they’re going to overtake you. You’ll be able to handle obstacles effectively and efficiently, all while avoiding the tense and anxious feelings that they can often create. Plus, you’ll be much happier in the process.

So, if you’re ready to let go of the stress that is plaguing you so you can enjoy life the way you feel you should be, here are three extremely effective techniques designed to give you relief almost instantly:

1. Mindful breathing

Mindful breathing

This particular method of stress relief allows you to clear your mind and give your body the oxygen it needs to feel its best. It removes your worries and troubles from the forefront of your world and replaces them with good feelings and a positive mood instead.

To do it, find some place comfortable to either sit or lie down. Ideally, you want it as quiet as possible and free from distraction. If you live in a busy household, you may have to wear headphones that play white noise or some other soothing sound like ocean waves or falling rain – basically anything that will drown out the background noise.

Close your eyes and take a long, slow deep breath in through your nose. Take it all the way into your abdominal area, causing your belly to rise as much as possible. Hold that breath for a count of four and then release it slowly through your mouth. As you’re breathing, think of nothing else other than the feel of your air as it enters and exits your body.

When you notice your mind wander (which it probably will until you get used to this particular technique), just bring it back to your breathing. It may help to picture a plain white or black wall in your mind and imagine every other thought cascading away from it, unable to stick and cause you grief.

Do this for 5, 10 or even 20 minutes a day and you’ll feel better almost immediately. Once you become more comfortable with this type of breathing, you can also imagine positive feelings entering your body and negative feelings exiting it when you inhale and exhale. This can help create an optimistic, self-empowering attitude that will last all day long.

2. Sequential muscle release

Your mind has a way of mirroring your body. So, if you’re constantly tensing your muscles, your brain will follow through with that feeling and become tense itself, making it difficult to focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand.

It’s like when you don’t feel confident but walk as though you are. Your mind thinks that you are self-assured based on your physical stature, resulting in feelings that will match your walk. It’s a positive cycle that gets your mind and body on the same playing field.

The same is true with smiling. If you don’t feel happy, just smile more often and eventually your brain will follow along and you’ll enjoy more pleasant feelings. The same is true when it comes to stress relief. You need your mind to recognize that your body is relaxed so it can relax as well.

For this exercise, you’re probably going to want to lie down for the greatest effect. Close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths and start with your head. Imagine the muscles in your face relaxing completely. Feel the stress and tension seep from your pores and cascade down your face.

Now move to your neck. Picture the muscles there letting go, releasing their tension and becoming as loose as a bowl of Jello. Work your way down to your collar bone area and feel the muscles just letting go. Picture the stress as it flows out of them like a fog that is being lifted far and away from your body.

Follow this imagery sequentially down your body until you’ve hit every muscle group you have. When you are finished, which should take about 10-20 minutes, you should feel almost as if you’ve gotten a massage. Your body should be relaxed and loose; your mind should feel relieved of pressure and stress.

3. Create a plan

business woman laptop 2

Stress and tension can come when you’re not organized or prepared. The less you know and understand what you’re doing, the greater the likelihood that you’re going to feel anxiety and concern. Create a plan though and you’ll be able to set those feelings aside because you will know exactly what to do and when to do it.

Take something that feels very big in your life and think about it for a moment. Figure out exactly why it is causing you so much discontent. Once you’ve isolated the source of your negative feelings, come up with a plan as to how you’re going to deal with them in a way that will resolve the issue for good.

For example, if you’re bothered by a project at work because it seems to be taking up all of your time and your other obligations are sliding, you’ll want to come up with some sort of time management that eases your burden. Maybe you’ll set aside an hour every morning to work on other projects so you are still moving forward, or perhaps you’ll commit to working every other Saturday to relieve some pressure until it’s complete.

Or, if you’re experiencing trouble in your relationship, you’ll want to create a plan on how you intend to deal with it in a constructive, positive way. Perhaps you’ll start with having an honest talk with each other and then pursue counseling if you have a difficult time resolving your issues on your own.

Once you have a plan in place as to how you’re going to handle a situation, you will experience relief because your mind knows what actions to take. It will know that you’ll get through whatever is bothering you and, more importantly, it will know how.

Stress is a normal part of life, but feeling tense and anxious should be the exception not the rule. And, it shouldn’t become so big that you can’t see beyond it. Practice these three techniques and let tomorrow be better than today.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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