♥ If you’re feeling stressed, don’t ignore it! Be kindly aware of how you feel. Stop what you’re doing for one minute, and simply feel the sensations in your body. This simple exercise can be done anytime, and it’s relaxing!
♥ Reduce input, even for a short period of time. We are constantly bombarded by phones, email, noise, advertising – you name it! How often do you unplug? How about eating dinner someplace a little quieter tonight?
♥ Be aware of your thoughts! Thoughts have a big effect on stress levels. If you find yourself in a situation ruminating about the worst possible outcome — give yourself the gift of a reality check. Ask: Is having this thought helping the situation…or making it worse?
♥ When you get some downtime, think about a way to spend that time that truly nourishes you. You could spend some relaxing time with a good friend, read a book you love, or take a leisurely walk…the possiblities are endless!
More Tips: 21 Ways to Reduce Stress in Your Everyday Life
Adapted from Saki Santorelli, University of Massachussetts Medical Center.
There are some simple things you can do right now that help with stress. Why not choose three that would be easy for you to do today?
- Take a few minutes in the morning to be quiet and meditate, either by sitting, lying down, gazing out a window, or going for a walk.
- Before you start your car or as you wait for the bus, take a few moments to quietly pay attention to the sensations of breathing.
- If you’re driving, notice your breathing while you drive, and notice if your hands are gripping the wheel tighter than they need to.
- While you’re in transit, in your car or some other mode of transport, decide not to play the radio or iPod and just be aware with yourself.
- If you’re driving, stay in the right lane and travel at a moderate speed.
- When stopped at a red light in your car, pay attention to your breathing. Or, if you are on foot and approaching a green light at an intersection, notice if your body is tensing up with the desire to make the green light before it turns red. See how relaxed your pace can be.
- While walking down a corridor to get to your next action, take this moment of “down time” to walk mindfully, being aware of the sensations of your body in motion. Try using such moments as a way of reclaiming your presence and awareness.
- While sitting at your desk, monitor bodily sensations and stress levels.
- When communicating with co-workers or superiors, consciously notice the rising and falling of your breath and the felt sense of your body. Speak while staying connected to your breath and body, and practice “deep listening.”
- Use your break time to really relax – instead of having a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee, take a few minutes just to breathe and “be.”
- Decide to stop for 1-3 minutes every hour during the workday, becoming aware of your breathing and bodily sensations – taking stock of how you are and regrouping.
- Use everyday cues in your environment as reminders to “center” yourself, e.g., the telephone ringing, taking a seat at your desk, etc.
- Take some time at lunch to speak with close associates on topics not related to your job.
- Choose to eat one or two lunches a week in silence. Use this as a time to eat slowly and be with yourself.
- At the end of the workday, review today’s activities and congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished, then make a list for tomorrow. You’ve done enough for today.
- Pay attention when you leave your office building and enter the outside. Feel the cold or the warmth of the body. Can you walk to your car or bus stop without feeling rushed?
- If driving home, take a moment before starting to drive to just sit behind the wheel and be – acknowledging that you are making the transition to your next job: being at home.
- While driving, notice if you are rushing or getting tense because of traffic. Notice where the body might be tense or held, and breathe into it. Remember that you have a choice about how to respond – rather than react – to your stressors.
- Try changing out of your work clothes as soon as you get home. This simple act can help ease the transition from work to home. Say hello to each of your family members, taking time to look into their eyes. Take a few minutes to be quiet and still, allowing the transition from being at work to being at home to be complete.
- Eat a mindful dinner – deliberately, noticing your breath and the sensations of the food being chewed and swallowed.
- When lying in bed, take a few minutes just to notice the touch points of the body and the rise and fall of the abdomen. If this makes you fall asleep, it’s not a problem!
Here are some more tips from The Daily Mind: 100 Ways to Unwind, Relax, and Loosen Up.