An adrenaline rush can help you perform superhuman feats in emergencies, but when that adrenaline rush keeps you in high stress and tension over a long period of time it reduces your work productivity and ability to perform at your best. By taking some time outs, you can maintain a high level of intensity without the added stress of panic adrenaline.
Here are some quick Stress Reduction Techniques you can use
When under pressure to complete a project, we typically throw ourselves into the work nonstop until completed. But without purposeful breaks, the additional tension soon compromises our work.
Taking mini time outs might seem conunterproductive when you are on a deadline, but those breaks can actually maximize your performance and minimize the time to complete the job.
Five Minute Walk Away
Get up and walk away from your work. Physically remove yourself from your work area and find a quiet spot by yourself.
Stand with arms at your side. Take a deep slow breath, and slowly raise your arms, stretching them high over your head. Hold them there for a minute and then slowly expell your air and gradually bring your arms down to your side. While doing this exercise, focus your mind on relaxing your whole body. Repeat several times.
Before returning to work, take an additional minute to walk around, stretching muscles and focusing on anything other than work.
Ten Minute Time Out
If your project takes a longer period of time to complete, schedule longer breaks throughout the day. Even when you think you absolutely have no time, do it anyway. Set your watch. Going for a walk outdoors is helpful because it enables you to relax your mind as well.
Walk someplace away from trafficked areas and someplace where it is pleasant. Walk slowly and enjoy the sights and sounds around you. Focus on relaxed breathing, the temperature of the air, flowers, and all the intense colors, shapes, textures, forms. Breathe slowly into all of this as you absorb the beauty of nature.
Another quick time out using visualization
Find a place where you can sit down and relax. Close your eyes and focus on breathing from the diaphragm. Tension promotes shallow breathing from the chest cavity which adds stress. Take slow even breathes in through the mouth, hold it a second and then slowly release through the nose.
If thoughts about what you should be doing intrude, simply refocus on your breathing instead of trying to stop the thoughts.
As your body relaxes, repeat to yourself, “I am letting go. I do not need this tension and stress.” Imagine your tension melting away. Relax into this wonderful sensation of stress melting away and muscles relaxing. Savor the feeling of relaxation.
When you are ready to return to work, open your eyes and give yourself a moment for the blood to start flowing and your energy levels to return before getting up and moving around.
You can use this exercise anytime. Practice doing this exercise when you are not stressed. You will find it becomes easier and easier to shed tension and relax your mind and body the more you use it.
In Thursday’s blog, I will share some additional information on how to relax and reduce stress and tension.
Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC