We all need to lower our stress levels. That is a given. Lowered stress means lowered blood pressure, better sleep and a longer life. It also means you can stop reacting to life from a fight-or-flight perspective and start living from clear insight.
Four ways to lower your stress in a heartbeat:
Yoga helps to reduce stress simply because you are moving around and getting the blood flowing. It doesn’t have to be power yoga. A restorative class will even help with stress levels simply because you are moving your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is one of the top ten ways to lower stress. You can practice some gentle yoga at your desk if you are at the office. You can practice four minutes of postures in your own bedroom or living room at home. Keep it simple. Try a few sun salutations or practice downward facing dog to upward facing dog to get the spine more limber. Stretch in a few of your favorite poses, holding them for ten breaths each. Just four minutes can really make a difference.
One of the most important stress reduction methods from a yogic practice is meditation. There are studies that prove meditation lowers our fight-or-flight response, changes our physiology and even improves brain functioning, but it also helps us to chill out. There are literally hundreds of types of meditation but you can start with Vipassana, an easy way to reduce stress and quiet your mind. It means clear insight, and comes from the yogic tradition.
Take the next four minutes to notice how you breathe. More than likely you may have caught yourself holding your breath or breathing with very shallow, stilted breaths. Instead of breathing shallowly, take some deep inhales from the very pit of your stomach, allowing the belly to expand. As you exhale, sit tall, relax your shoulders, and breathe as slowly as you can out the nose, to expel all your breath. Do this for four minutes and notice how clear-headed and relaxed you actually feel.
Use Positive Thoughts
There is a practice in yogacalled Dharana, from the Sanskrit language, meaning singular focus. What you focus on matters. While you shouldn’t ever deny feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, frustration or anxiety, you can allow them to rise and pass like the clouds passing over the sun. Just observe your emotions. See what thoughts float through the sky of your mind and then see if you can replace a few of them with more productive ones. This changing your mind will also change your stress level and give you a sense of empowerment to change the situation as your currently see it into something more auspicious.
Do you have other ways to help you de-stress?
If so, please share them below.
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