Do you have the stress relief techniques you need to reduce and recover from the impact of busyness and stress?
Moshe Feldenkrais once said, “Know what you are doing so that you can do what you want.”
When it comes to stress, that means knowing what your body is doing involuntarily so that you can act with intention.
Stress relief techniques only work if you know the signs of stress, and everyone has different signs. How does your body react to stress? Do you shut down mentally? Does your heart race? Do your thoughts go a million miles an hour? Are your shoulder and neck all of a sudden tight and painful? Maybe you eat more than you need to. It could be that your body reacts differently to different types of stress. For instance, maybe you get dry mouth when you have to speak in front of others, but when you have a close call while driving, you feel as though your heart might burst through your chest and that your neck and head are stuck down between your shoulders.
What Causes Your Stress?
Almost anything these days can cause stress. We live in a world where we are constantly moving and constantly called to connect to work and social groups via smartphones and social media. The trick to relaxing is finding what specifically causes your stress. To do that, you have to listen to what your body is telling you. When you know how your body reacts to stressful situations, then you can move on to finding what habitual triggers cause your stress. Pay attention to the events leading up to a stressful episode. Notice what you and those around you are doing. When you find the culprit, you can start to have other options, even removing yourself from the situation.
Ways to Calm Your Stress
The world and life events are going to be stressful no matter what, but you don’t have to be anxious all the time. This is key! Can you recognize the involuntary feeling and sensation of anxiety before it tips into overwhelm? Being cognizant of your sensation cues allows you to have the choice to choose something different. Only when you can choose something different can the unconscious mental and emotional triggers be recognized and worked with. When we are able to feel this differentiation we can allow acceptance and the possibility of integration. When we allow images and thoughts to come and go freely, we actually relax and are no longer bound to the reflexive neurobiology of our thinking and subsequent tension, anxiousness, and stress-related disease.
When feeling your stressed cues, one of the easiest stress relief techniques that you can do is to change the breathing. It’s quick, simple, and you don’t even have to leave the room to gain the stress relief benefits. Here’s how you can calm down by breathing
Sit or lie in a relaxed position. Breathe in, taking all the time you need, no more and no less. Breathe out, again taking as much time as is necessary. You don’t have to take in an exaggerated deep breath and exhale in a burst to relax. Your body will tell you what it needs, so listen to your body.
Close Your Eyes
Simply closing your eyes can signal to your body that you need to calm down. You can make yourself even more relaxed by doing the following when closing your eyes to destress.
First, sit or lie down with your eyes closed and do your breathing exercise. Keeping your eyes closed, slowly lookup using only your eyes as you inhale. As you exhale, do the opposite, lowering your eyes as the air leaves your lungs. Repeat this about three to five times. You need not force your eyeballs to the end range of movement. Be easy and have a soft, gentle quality in your movement, timing it with the breath. Then let the movement go and just breathe with your eyes closed a few more cycles sensing the stress cues lessening or even leaving.
Make this a Better Year with Awareness, Choice and Stress Relief Techniques and Strategies!
Treat yourself to some self-care from Montgomery Somatics to make this year more relaxed and healthier.
Carol is a physical therapist, a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory, a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, and a Senior Trainer in Movement Intelligence. Focus, Align, Teach and Inspire! These qualities not only describe her work, but they also describe her presence. She is passionate when it comes to reconnecting learning with human function and health. Carol is in private practice at MontgomerySomatics.com in Columbus, Indiana.