Here are some additional ways to reduce stress on an ongoing basis throughout the day. They are quick and easy and once you start doing them, they become habits that continue to make life easier and more pleasant.
1. Develop the habit of becoming aware of your breathing throughout the day. If it is fast and rapid, it is probably shallow and increasing your stress levels. Immediately, take a few deep, slow breaths and as you breathe out, say to yourself: “Let Go” and create an image of all the tension draining away.
2. Use mini visualizations like the one posted last week – standing under a beautiful waterfall. Create others that bring you an immediate calming and relaxing response. Bring to your mind a peaceful walk through the woods or anything that will trigger deep peace and relaxation. I like to reflect on the promises God gives us throughout scripture. It creates an immediate image of love and peace.
3. Become a kid again! Imagine yourself rolling down a grassy hillside or covering yourself with leaves or running through mud puddles. We can release the kid inside us through our imagination. Even though we aren’t doing it physically, we are reaping the benefits mentally.
4. Throughout the day, focus your mind on what you do like rather than what you don’t like. You can bring positive thoughts into any situation.
5. Laugh. Reframe your situation into something funny. Even the most disasterous event can have its humorous or comical side. We love to listen to comedians because they take our tragedies and turn them into humor.
6. Whenever you feel tension, anger, anxiety or stress, do the following: stop, take some deep slow breaths and then ask yourself:
Why am I feeling this way? Am I simply reacting to someone or something I have no control over? Is there any reason I need to remain in this anger mode? If I do, will it make me feel any better or solve the problem I am facing? Is it worth feeling upset over?
Instead of hanging on to anger, anxiety, fear and stress, let these emotions tell you what needs to be done, what you can do and what you can’t. Then look for solutions instead of hanging onto resentment, anger, frustration, worry, etc.
Throughout your day, whenever you feel tension and stress, take some slow, deep breathes, take a quick internal inventory and breathe into the tension spots. Imagine your tension and stress are a bundle of rocks and you have just sent them rolling down the hillside. If you see your muscles tied in knots, imagine you are untying the knots and you see the muscles relaxing. Allow your mind to create the visualization that works for you.
©Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC