I’m a huge stress bunny. I carry my stress with me and in me (in my shoulders!) and have a hard time letting it go. It’s just who I am. So I’m coming up with ways to de-stress and these suggestions are useful:
In the shower
Face the water, letting it cascade onto your head. Take three deep, slow breaths. Pay attention to the sensation of the spray, the smell of your soap and shampoo, and the sound of water hitting the tub. Imagine you’re bringing your troubles to your skin’s surface and washing them away. Close your eyes and slowly repeat, “I feel refreshed,” aloud three times, focusing on each word and savoring your serene, clean feeling before stepping out.
At your desk
Close your eyes and take five deep, relaxing breaths, emphasizing the exhale. Try this visualization technique, which I learned in sports: Consider the task you’re about to tackle. Call to mind a talent of yours (creativity, diligence, enthusiasm) that will be key to succeeding at the task. Evaluating your resources will help you marshal your efforts and succeed. Before you open your eyes and get started, envision the assignment completed and done well.
Before you set out (sans iPod and cell phone), straighten up and tuck your tummy and your rear end in to feel taller. Walk slowly, focusing on each body part in isolation. First tune in to your knees as each one bends and raises, then your hips as they shift and rotate, and next the heel and ball of your foot as it meets the ground. Then focus on your arms next as they pump, then your neck, which is elongated. Pay attention to your stride for at least 10 minutes. By reconnecting to your body, you’ll arrive revived.
On your commute
Raise your eyebrows and hold for a count of three. Let it go and take a deep breath. Do this twice. (Don’t worry, the wrinkles won’t stay!) Repeat with each body part, tensing and relaxing your shoulders, your arms, moving downward along your body. Sit quietly, noticing how relaxed your muscles — and mind — feel when you’re through. Relaxed muscles require less oxygen, so your breathing will slow and your heart rate and blood pressure will also decline. As your body falls naturally into a state of calm, your mood will follow suit.