If you’re like me, most days you feel pulled in a million directions and forget to take a few minutes to slow down. None of us want to add more tasks to our already extensive to-do list. However, taking steps to reduce your stress doesn’t have to be stressful.
Here are 5 things you can start implementing in your day to help you feel more present and relaxed.
Deep breathing sounds pretty obvious and overly simple but most of us forget to practice it regularly. To get the most out of this, breathe into your stomach instead of your rib cage. To make sure you’re doing this right put a hand on your stomach and feel it expand. Exhale slowly out of your nose, or mouth if you prefer. Repeat at least 5 times. You can do this stopped at a red light, at your desk, watching your child’s sports game- anywhere and everywhere.
Get Out of Your Head
Do you have racing thoughts and feelings of anxiety? Tapping into your 5 senses can help you get grounded and out of your head. Take a moment to TOUCH- feel and take note of the the texture of your shirt, your chair, something soft. Notice any sounds you can HEAR. What do you SMELL? Throw a mint on your mouth and mindfully describe the TASTE to yourself. Look around and name what you SEE.
When I’m stressed I tend to focus on what’s going wrong which fuels the worry. Take a moment to counteract this by highlighting what’s going right and what you are grateful for, no matter how small. Some days just getting out of bed or making a meal are worth noting. I make a gratitude list on the notes section of my iPhone.
This is probably the most time consuming activity on this list. Do something that gets your heart rate up and your endorphins releasing. There is a ton of research out there backing up how important exercise is for reducing stress and mood issues. The most recent federal guidelines for adults is 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity. Break this up throughout the week however you’d like. Can’t make it to a gym? Look up a workout video on YouTube.
Put it in Perspective
Will homemade cookies for the bake sale really matter in a week from now? A year? How about that embarrassing thing you did? Will the other person still be thinking about it a few months down the road? Probably not and if so then maybe it turns into a funny story later. Life is full of challenges and sometimes the best thing we can do is not take everything so seriously.