We all experience stress at some time in our lives, but it doesn’t need to get the best of anyone. Here Anna Selby gives her top tips for beating stress.
Stressing out at home or work? Try these tips from Anna Selby, author of Quick & Easy Stress Busters (Simon & Schuster).
1. Morning meditation
Sit in a comfortable position, rest your hands loosely in your lap and relax your face, neck and shoulders. Take slow, deep breaths and focus on releasing any tension. Allow any worries to surface, then put them aside. Notice any tense areas in your body and relax them as you exhale.
Close your eyes and become aware of your breathing. Start to count your breaths: inhale on one, exhale on two, inhale on three and so on. Keep your breathing steady and deep. As you count, bring your attention either to the sensation of air passing through your nose or to the rise and fall of your abdomen.
If you lose count, start again. Count your breaths for five minutes, then slowly open your eyes, inhale deeply and stretch your body.
2. Refresh yourself in the car
Practise this exercise while you are stuck in traffic, or at the end of a stressful drive. Sit up straight and look straight ahead. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides. Lift your shoulders as high as you can, then drop heavily. Repeat nine times.
From this dropped-shoulder position, roll your shoulders forward while keeping your head still and relaxed. Your arms will automatically move so the backs of your hands are facing forward, but avoid consciously moving your arms.
Now lift your shoulders as high as you can toward your ears, keeping your arms relaxed and loose. Continue the circle, rolling your shoulders backwards and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Be careful not to over-arch your back.
Drop your shoulders to complete the circle. Repeat nine times, rolling your shoulders forward, up and back four times, then backward, up and forward five times. If you feel any tension in your neck, drop your head forward to release it.
3. Soothing headache reliever
Choose a quiet bedroom, close the curtains and, if you wish, play some relaxing music. Add eight drops of lavender or rose essential oil to a bowl of water. Soak a facecloth in the water for a moment. Wring out the cloth, lie down and cover yourself with a blanket. Place the cloth across your forehead and close your eyes. Relax for five minutes. Focus on your breathing and release your muscles. If worries appear, recognise them and put them aside to deal with later.
4. Exhilarating heart lightener
Sit comfortably on a chair, or cross-legged on the floor with your back against a wall. Stretch your arms up over your head, bring them slowly down to your sides and let them drop. Yawn widely and feel yourself relax. Close your eyes.
Allow your awareness to move around your body, mentally checking for any areas of tension and releasing them. Now focus on your breath, feeling the rise and fall of your abdomen. Breathe deeply for one minute, feeling totally relaxed.
Start to laugh, feeling the corners of your mouth lift and letting the movement spread to your whole body, including your abdomen. Even if it seems like a false laugh at first, just let the physical feeling of laughter take over your body.
Start to enjoy the laughter – notice how it affects your body, how it lifts your emotions. Laugh for a full minute. Then compose yourself and examine the state of both body and mind. You may be surprised at how uplifted you feel.
5. Relaxing bedtime meditation
Lie on the floor under a blanket. Become aware of your left foot: heel, toes, sole and the top of your foot. Mentally tell yourself, “My left foot is relaxing. My left leg is relaxed.” Bring your awareness to your left leg, and repeat the affirmation: “My left leg is relaxing. My left leg is relaxed.”
Repeat on your right foot and leg. Continue to move your consciousness around your whole body, including your abdomen, back, arms, hands and face (jaw, chin, cheeks, nose, lips, eyes, eyebrows, forehead, ears) and finally your whole head.
As you focus on each body part, repeat the relevant affirmation. Feel your body floating, free of tension, your mind relaxed but aware.
This brilliant piece was originally posted by our friends over at http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/ – a great spot for all sorts of interesting things to do with your health. As always, not an affiliate link, just a site we love and want to share!