I’m always telling my three-year old to calm down. The poor thing can’t contain all his excitement and growth and inevitably he gets a:”Lucas just calm down a little” from me every day. Since I say it so much you would think it to be an easy task for myself. You would be wrong. Every day I am overwhelmed by important and menial tasks. It seem’s like there is never a moment I am not doing or thinking about something. In retrospect I am just like Lucas. I have so much going on inside of me I think I could explode. But being an adult I get away with being overly hyper without anybody telling me to just calm the “beep” down.
This is no exclusive of mine. Most of us live in a constant fight or flight state. We are moving way too fast and we can’t keep up. Even if we attempted to sit down and smell the roses, chances are we would be thinking about what we have to do as soon as we are done smelling them :). This constant stress is destroying us. Most of us fail to acknowledge how detrimental it is to our health. We say we are stressed all the time, we say we need to relax, we say we need to rest, but we don’t.
Stress is one of the major causes of chronic disease and we need to face it. More importantly we need to do something about it. Perhaps do nothing sometime :). Or take a more active approach. Make a point to address it and release it.
There are many ways to deal with stress. Helpguide.org in collaboration with The Harvard School of Health provides a great guide. For today I will focus on some of their mini-relaxation exercises for when you have little time to spare. Ideally we should make time, but well’ get there. Baby steps guys :).
One minute to spare, try this…
Place your hand just beneath your belly button. Feel it rise and fall as you breathe. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three. Continue to breathe deeply for one minute, pausing for a count of three after each inhalation and exhalation. Done, life is a little better.
Count down slowly from 10 to zero. With each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply, saying “10” to yourself. Breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say “nine,” and so on. If you feel light-headed, count down more slowly to space your breaths further apart. When you reach zero, you should be able to take on that crying baby.
Three minutes, wow that is awesome…
Sit down. Scan your body for tension. Then gradually relax your body. Start with your facial muscles and allow your jaw to fall open slightly. Let your shoulders drop. Let your arms fall to your sides. Allow your hands to loosen so that there are spaces between your fingers. Feel your thighs sink into your chair, letting your legs fall comfortably apart. Feel your shins and calves become heavier and your feet grow roots into the floor. Now breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly. If you did this with your eyes closed open them and get on with what ever you where doing. Now you can do it better!
Five, amazing before you know it you will be doing 20 minutes of pure relaxation every day…
Give yourself a little massage, you deserve it.
Start by kneading the muscles at the back of your neck and shoulders. Make a loose fist and drum swiftly up and down the sides and back of your neck. Next, use your thumbs to work tiny circles around the base of your skull. Slowly massage the rest of your scalp with your fingertips. Then tap your fingers against your scalp, moving from the front to the back and then over the sides.
Now massage your face. Make a series of tiny circles with your thumbs or fingertips. Pay particular attention to your temples, forehead, and jaw muscles. Use your middle fingers to massage the bridge of your nose and work outward over your eyebrows to your temples.
Finally, close your eyes. Cup your hands loosely over your face and inhale and exhale easily for a short while.
Don’t you feel better just reading this, imagine if you actually did it!
If you can try one of these every day I’m sure you will start smelling the roses more frequently. And that will lead to more beauty and calm. Your health will benefit greatly from this. Not to mention you will be happier and that will spread to those around you.
Take care and try to calm down a little :).