Lockdown Practical Strategies: 3 Ways to Instantly Relax and Decrease Stress

I don’t know about you but I am noticing that there are days when I wake up tense, anxious and generally more uptight than I was the day before. I can’t put my finger on a cause or a trigger other than the whole global situation we are in — it just is how I am when I wake up. So what to do about it? I dont want to have the day feeling stressed.

There’s no question that stress causes disease. It’s been directly linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease just to name a few. It also negatively affects your immune system and can make you feel grumpy, tired, and unhappy. So I can see a vicious cycle happening. But I also know that stress is a part of life. There are bills to pay, friends and family to get along with, and challenges to overcome.

So, how we handle stress is completely within our control. When you’re feeling stressed you can let your emotions take over, or you can take steps to relax and stop the stress levels creeping up.

#1 Take Deep Cleansing Breaths

The first step to any relaxation exercise is to realize that you’re stressed. Begin to learn the signals your body sends when it experiences stress. Does your heart rate increase? Do you feel your fists clench or your brow furrow? Do you grumble to yourself or begin pacing? Does your mind race with negative thoughts, worries, or doubts?

When you begin to experience signs of stress, one of the easiest steps to take is to stop everything and take four to ten deep cleansing breaths. Each breath lasts for a 12 count. Count to four in the inhalation and try to breathe in through your nose. Hold your breath for four counts and then exhale through your mouth for four counts. Repeat until you feel the stress signs start to fade and you feel more calm and in control of your emotional state — even though you are not in control of the triggers for the state.

#2 Gratitude

During difficult times it helps to count your blessings. Many significant studies have shown that gratitude helps a person feel more joyful and happy. It puts things into perspective and helps you feel more optimistic and resilient. When you’re grateful for what you have, the challenges of life don’t feel quite so powerful or overwhelming. If you’re having a bad moment, or dealing with something that’s stressing you out, try counting your blessings.

Start a gratitude journal or have an arrangement with a group of friends or family that you share something you are grateful for each morning or evening.

#3 Self-Massage

Massage and the power of touch have been shown to release anti-stress hormones. These hormones actually create a feeling of calmness throughout your body and help you manage stress. Of course a professional massage isn’t an option for everyone. But you can receive much of the same benefit by learning a few self-massage techniques. By massaging your hands, neck, temples, head, and even your feet can experience gentle relaxation. Acupressure and reflexology are other means of using self-touch to help reduce stress and improve wellness. if you go online and look for some short free courses you can quickly learn some techniques to help yourself.

Of course, self stroking is the simplest, easiest and probably the most soothing of all and you dont even need to do a little course to do that. Just stroke — backs of your hands, outside of arms, inside of arms, hair, face and brow, legs and feet. Then sit or lie quietly letting the nice feelings sink in.

Learning to identify signs of stress and to immediately self-treat can help you reduce your reaction to the stress. You’ll feel an immediate benefit and a better sense of wellbeing. The big bonus is that you’ll also improve your long term health and reduce your risk of stress related conditions.

Join me anytime on Facebook at the group MakeBigImpactNow. This is a community of Changemakers and Grassroots Givers who are doing what they can to make a difference and change the world. They are sincerely engaged in Doing Good Better, starting with themselves!

I’m producing a ton of free content about making an impact, leaving a legacy, making a difference and opening up the most profound levels of self-care for turbulent times. https://www.facebook.com/groups/468677503774245/

I am also blogging and posting on my old website which I will be dusting off and breathing new life into over the next few weeks. Watch this space. www.elizabethmorrisonline.com

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