Stressed? How to Mellow Stress in Stressful Times

by dena on April 26, 2013

There are countless ways to minimize stress. I want to share a few quick and easy techniques with you today.

When my stress levels are in the lower realms, I tend to be more patient and compassionate with myself and others. I am nicer to be around. Mellowing myself sends ripples out to those around me.

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My Favorite Quick “Mellowers”

• Stretching
• Yawning
• Breath counting
• Breath surfing

Flash – – The body is hardwired to relax and to self-repair when relaxed!
I was amazed and grateful when I learned this scientific tidbit.
Each of the first 2 actions below, stretching or yawning, triggers the body’s relaxation response. When the body is in a state of relaxation, every cell moves toward homeostasis. This means each cell begins to repair itself.

1) Stretching – Quick Solution: Every time you think of it, stretch for even a moment. It does not matter whether you are seated, standing, or reclining. Any stretching at all will help invite relaxation. As soon as you notice you are feeling stress, stretching can begin to interrupt the stress right away. Longer Solution: If you have more than a few seconds, and if you have access to some private space, doing any pre-exercise stretching or a yoga pose or two can add to your sense of wellbeing.

2) Yawning – Quick Solution: Again, as soon as you become aware of feeling any tension in yourself, allow yourself to yawn. Or take a few deep breaths. Any form of deep breathing stimulates the relaxation response in the body. Longer Solution: Deep breathing exercises from yoga or other sources also jumpstart the body’s relaxation. If you have time to do this for several minutes or even more, all the better. Contagion Factor: A side effect of yawning when in a group of people is that one person’s yawn seems to spread to others, so you might be enhancing the mood and health of multiple people as you take care of yourself.

3) Breath Counting – is a centering exercise. Quick Solution: You can do this with eyes open, a good thing if you happen to notice you are stressed while at the food market, in a meeting, or driving. If you have even as little as thirty seconds, count each inhalation, from 1 to 4, then repeat. Longer Solution: If you have more time and can be in a quiet and private space, you might engage this exercise for ten minutes or more. Some find it easier to think the word “and” for each out-breath, (1 . . . . and . . . . . 2 . . . . and . . . .).

4) Breath Surfing – is another centering exercise. Quick Solution: Focus on the physical motion of your body as you inhale and exhale. This can be done anywhere and under various conditions and for a matter of a few moments. It is simple. If you wish, you can think the words inhale/exhale or breathe in/breathe out as you notice the feel of your breathing. Longer Solution: When you have time to sit quietly, you can experiment with practicing this technique with eyes closed. At times, I have used these centering exercises while sitting in my vehicle waiting to meet with someone or to attend a meeting.

Two-fer – My favorite quick actions to use for replacing stress with relaxation are to combine stretching and yawning. They go well together and can be done for a few seconds. These actions look natural, they can be done in most settings.

By the way, spontaneous yawning is the body’s way of taking in oxygen when more oxygen is needed. We may tend to think of yawning in relation to being tired, because yawning may happen more near bedtime. When the body is in need of replenishing oxygen, we feel tired.

Practice – Any relaxation technique can be accessed faster if it has been practiced. Generally, the more practice and doing so during relatively calm times, the more familiar it is and the more apt one is to remember to do it in the midst of stress inducing situations. Practicing can be done for a few seconds at a time; we need not feel like it is one more burdensome task to add to an already very full schedule.

Children – Children tend to enjoy learning and using these techniques. Younger children can be introduced to these as games (i.e., the yawning-&-stretching game, the breath surfing game, or invite them to invent names). Stress is negatively impacting them, they can benefit from these resources.

What are your favorite healthy and quick ways to mellow?

Are there calming exercises you and your children use?

If you explore any of these and other methods, I would love to hear about your experiences. Have there been any changes for you? Have others in your life seemed to be affected by your use of relaxation exercises?

You are welcome to find out about my telephone meditation classes that happen 3 different times weekly.

Blissings, Dena

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