“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu
As Richard Clarlson says stress is nothing more than the mind bullying your body. And I’m sure your body is not thrilled about all the continual holding of the breath, clenching the jaw, grinding of teeth, intense frowning, stomach churning, squished up face, tight tense muscles, erratic breathing and anxious feelings.
Know there are simple little 30 second practices you can do right in the middle of any stressful situation. Small or big. Be it annoying traffic, noisy neighbours, a difficult person, running late, grumpy children or as in my experience earlier this year, sitting in hospital with my son screaming in pain. Very stressful!!!!
Release surface tension as you go:
Giving yourself 30 seconds or longer to remove surface tension – as it happens – I believe is the clever way to go. And its easy. If you can breathe then you can do it.
The hard part is remembering to do it. Over and over again if you need too until you can feel some relief. Remember, relief is literally only a breath away.
So if you remember only one piece of advice from today’s post, please remember to release the stress as it happens - with a few repeated forceful exhales. Your body will do the rest.
1. Adjust your breathing:
“Relief is literally only a breath away”
Simply notice your breath. There is nothing else you need to do. This will take focus and energy off the situation and back into your body. Notice your breath, follow your breath and let your breath breathe you.
Your breath is the most efficient tool you have for getting relief from stress. When your breathing is restricted, agitated or stopped altogether, it creates an unseen chain reaction in the body that can greatly compromise your well-being and ability to think clearly
2. Release it from your muscles:
“Stress is nothing more than your mind bullying the body” Richard Carlson
Let go of the strong hold tension has on your muscles. Start with your head. Part your lips slightly, un-clench your jaw, relax your tongue (it hold lots of tension), lose the frown, un-squish your face, un-hunch your shoulders, lengthen your spine, relax the muscles in your buttocks and stomach and then smile (even if you don’t feel like it). Feel the difference. You have effectively released oodles of surface tension from your body.
Tight muscles restrict circulation throughout your body and starve your organs, muscles and extremities of blood flow and oxygen.
3. Hum to clear your head and interupt the stress:
“I try to avoid stress – it makes me feel like I’m rubber-stamping my organs with urgent’ Berri Clove
Humming is a miracle worker. The vibration and sound of the hum clears away worry and stored tension in your body.
Place one hand on top of your head and the other on your belly. Close your eyes and hum. Keep your lips together as this will help loosen tension around your mouth, jaw and neck area. Feel the movement of the hum as it flows from your stomach to your head. Continue until you feel the stress shifting. Perfect exercise for frustration in traffic jams.
4. Spend longer on your exhale to push the stress away:
“I choose to respond by breathing, not stressing”
Exhaling for twice as long as your inhale is a great way to calm tight, tense breathing. For example inhale for 2 exhale for 4. It’s fabulous for releasing stored tension from your chest, stomach and shoulder area. It’s also great for moving excess energy out of your head (quickly), particularly if you feel like its about to explode.
Push the stress further away by sticking out your tongue (as far as it will go) and exhale from your mouth, not your nose. Very therapeutic for built up tension in tongue, neck and jaw. Roar like a lion like if you need too.
5. Breathe into your belly:
“The true man breathes with his heels, the mass of mean breathe with their throats” Chuang Tzu Taoist Philosopher
Placing your hands on your belly will instantly direct energy there. Inhale deeply all the way down into your belly. Feel your hands rise on the inhale, as your belly fills with air and expands. Feel the relaxation that follows each belly breath. When belly breathing make sure your ribs swing open as well. When the ribcage opens the belly expands fully.
Most people are upper chest breathers and never fully fill their lungs, or fully empty their lungs. Belly breathing encourages a full deep healthy breath.
Belly breathing triggers the relaxation response in the body, removes stale air from the bottom of the lungs, oxygenates the body and improves the flow of blood and circulation throughout your body.
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~ Recent Daily Ritual ~
Turn all electric lights off and light a candle.
Gaze into the flame with soft eyes. Inhale her soothing confident presence.
“Everything will be ok” is the mantra of the gentle flickering candle flame.
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~ What I’m loving at the moment ~
Walking Meditation: Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
I absolutely love this book.
Simply hold this book and you’ll feel more peaceful. It’s as if Thich Nhat Hanh’s calming energy oozes from every page.
It’s short. Super easy to read and understand.
The best part – it includes a DVD and CD with guided walking meditations. Most helpful if you’re a visual or auditory learner.