How to deal with stress: techniques for relaxation
We often find ourselves in situations where we can’t help but panic. Where feelings of stress just won’t go away.
Panic, stress and anxiety are something we all have to deal with from time to time. In fact, it’s something we all have in common – when do we ever meet someone that hasn’t felt stress at some point in their life?
From low-level fretting caused by dull, day-to-day mishaps (e.g. CC’ing the wrong person in an email), to longer episodes of blinding fear or worry about something more serious (concerns about a loved one or big problem), we are all united by the need to deal with stress and anxiety.
Yoga offers a number of useful techniques for dissipating feelings of panic and dealing with stress, helping us wind and ground down in order to reassess a situation, reset our emotions and move forward. They also help us bring awareness to why we’re feeling stressed or anxious, which often helps us realise that things aren’t really as bad as they seem.
Here are M Life’s techniques for dealing with stress and tension. They are excellent tools in our mental health first aid kit and help us stay present and sane in a world that sometimes just wants to challenge us.
In yoga, we are encouraged to think about our position on our mat, reach into all four corners of our feet to bring a sense of presence and awareness to our situation, and focus on our physical presence. In times of stress (and this can be done even when wearing shoes), taking a minute to drive our feet into the floor, wiggle our toes and push into the sides, arches and heels of our feet can be a real saving grace and bring calm to moments of chaos.
Squeezing, touching and gripping offer an immediate release of bodily tension. Our hands are under a lot of pressure – more than we realise – particularly in the modern world where we’re typing, texting and using a mouse for 10 hours a day. Add wringing our hands or clenching our fists to the mix, and we’ve got a recipe for disaster. Directing negative energy and taking our stress out on something like a rubber ball or using a resistance band during a bad moment means we reduce the impact on our bodies, finding a release and making our brain concentrate on something else.
Anxious thought patterns can often be interrupted effectively by certain smells, particularly smells that have positive connotations. Essential oils mixed with water, roller balls with certain scents or room sprays can help us exit a negative train of thought and stop the flow of unhelpful mental imagery. Combined with breathing techniques, smell is a little-known weapon in our fight against stress – we recommend lavender and bergamot fragrances in particular.
Stressful situations can leave us literally short of breath. Taking a few moments in a stressful situation to breath in through our noses and out through our mouths for prolonged periods helps to send oxygen and blood around our body, which is vital to helping us calm down and regain control. During the early to mid-stages of a typical cycle of panic, a feeling of tingling can occur, which is our brain sending blood and oxygen to our vital organs and the places we need to keep us alive. Remembering to breathe deeply is essential to stopping the vicious circle and giving all of our muscles, organs and nerves everything they need.
We rarely put on music just to listen to the beat, rhythm and melody, it’s usually an aid to something else (concentration) or background noise intended to provide atmosphere (shops, parties). Listening to classical music or music with binaural beats helps us slow down and find an alternate focus, providing a sort of active mediation which keeps our brain busy so as not to let the stress return, but ensures we’re changing up our thoughts, feelings and intentions for the better.
How do you deal with stress? Get in touch here.