If you’ve just purchased a new home your mind is probably racing. While closing on a house is cause for celebration, you’ve still probably got a lot on your plate and you may even feel anxious which can make it more difficult to make decisions and get everything done you need to accomplish, creating a vicious cycle. And taking time to relax just does not seem possible.
Our brains aren’t designed to be constantly active, in addition to getting a good night’s sleep, we need to take time to relax, calm our minds and take a break from the constant demands. Being overstressed can lead to physical and mental health problems (1), from weight gain and high blood pressure to anxiety and depression.
Multiple Sources of Stress and Associated Symptoms can be Overwhelming
Everyone experiences stress. It can help you focus and get the task at hand done. But when stress is frequent and intense, it can strain your body and make it impossible to function. Finding effective ways to deal is crucial to living well. Here are a few solutions:
Instant Relaxation Mode
This technique will help you unwind by reducing tension, diminishing stress and increasing your feelings of tranquility and peacefulness. It can be used whenever you feel stressed out or anxious, and can be a really great way for reducing insomnia at night, too!
This technique is ideal for instantly bringing yourself into relaxation mode:
- Get into a comfortable position (ideally in loose, relaxed clothing).
- Tighten the muscles in each one of your toes, holding the pose for a count of 10 and then relaxing them slowly as tension releases.
- Do the same with the muscles in your feet and then work up through your body, from your legs to your abs, your back, shoulders, neck and face, holding then relaxing as you go.
Take a Walk
When anxious thoughts start to flood your mind, take a walk. Even if you’re at work, you can walk down the hall or around the building. Getting out into the fresh air, if possible, makes it easier to forget about your cares, get some exercise and instantly calm your mind.
Research has shown that walking promotes the release of brain chemicals called endorphins that stimulate relaxation and improve our mood. Walking does not have to be done at a fast pace to have stress-relieving benefits. Even a stroll at a comfortable pace promotes relaxation, studies indicate (2).
This method can be done anytime and anywhere, just stop whatever you’re doing and focus on your breath. Breathing the right way can instantly calm your mind, as it brings in more oxygen, reducing anxiety (3). Loosen your shoulders and try to relax. You want to breathe from the deepest part of your longs by using your diaphragm, the large sheet-like muscle that lies at the bottom of the chest cavity. Place your left hand on your upper chest, and your right hand on your abdomen when you breathe your right hand should move up and down, but your left hand should be still, if it isn’t you’re breathing too shallow.
Breath-focused meditation can be an entry point of bringing you to a mindful place, accepting the present moment for what it is. Your breath is the one true thing that is present in the moment — you can’t breathe ahead, and you can’t breathe backwards.
Aromatherapy is something that’s been practiced for centuries and it can be especially good for calming the mind. Countless studies, including research out of Austria’s University of Vienna, have found that lavender essential oil can reduce anxiety. In fact, it’s been shown to work just as well or even better than the pharmaceutical drug Ativan, but without the long list of potential side effects. Simply breathe in the scent, of the oil or place a few drops on your chest.
These are just a few examples of how you can calm down. As you can see you can still find stress relief in just five minutes whenever you need it. But living in a perpetual state of stress isn’t sustainable. So be sure to schedule longer respites too when you can. Snag 30 minutes at the gym or a grab brunch with your BFFs, whatever gets you to the right level of chill.
by Cara Lucas