Stress is something that affects the best of us. Although there are many things that cause us to be stressed, not all of them we can control. In this page, I am going to share a tool that has helped me reduce stress and stay calmer. The article is featured on Life Lens Motivation Blog.
Stress has at least 2 aspects of it: the outside circumstances and how we deal with it. Think if you are driving in an intense traffic. Cars coming from every direction and enraged people cutting you off. There is little you can do about the traffic. Likewise, there is little we can do with some of the pressures we have at work.
However, there are people that even if the road is calm, they clench to their steering wheel as if they are on a battlefield. The second aspect of stress is you, the driver. How you think, feel, believe, breathe and what you eat all influence whether you feel stressed or not.
What Can We Do?
Internal stress can be addressed in many ways. Studies show that changes in thoughts patterns, beliefs, breathing, rest and the food we eat can contribute to increased or decreased stressed. If we want a tool that offers quick relief from stress, the fastest is the breath and attention.
Breathing and attention are used by many mental health professionals in dealing with stress and anxiety. The Eastern traditions have used breathe in different formats for millennia. Deep and slower breathing tends to reduce stress whilst shallow and fast breathing tends to promote stress in the body.
An Exercise To Deal With Stress
This exercise is based on a similar exercise by the School of Practical Philosophy. I have been a student there and I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their quality of life. The exercise has three parts:
3 Deep Breathes
Bringing Attention to 5 Senses
Using imagination to calm the mind.
The exercise is not meant as a long-term solution to removing all stress. However, it can be a relief, bringing in some quiet time. It can be done almost anywhere where you can sit down and be comfortable. I have also done this exercise every day for 3 months and this helped me calm down a lot.
The Exercise Itself
Sit comfortably with your back straight.
Bring your attention to your body and breathe:
Take a deep breath in (take five seconds to breathe in)
Then breathe out slowly (take five seconds to breathe out)
Take a deeper breath in.
Then breathe out slower than before.
Take an even deeper breathe in.
Then take an even slower breathe out.
Then bring your attention to your feet:
See how your feet touch the ground. (Stay for 5 seconds)
Then move your attention to how your clothes caress your skin (stay for 5 seconds).
Then move your attention to your sense of taste (stay for 5 seconds).
Then move your attention to your sense of smell (stay for 5 seconds).
Then move your attention to your eyes, if they are open, just see without judgement (stay for 5 seconds).
Then move your attention to your hearing, listening to everything without judging (stay for 5 seconds).
Enjoy doing nothing (stay for 5 seconds).
Then imagine that
Everything is well (stay for 5 seconds).
You are on a holiday (stay for 5 seconds).
All your dreams and desires are fulfilled (stay for 5 seconds).
Put a smile and give yourself a hug 😊