Feeling stressed is quite common these days. Demands on individuals have increased and the pace of life has really picked up. We always have to get so many things done all at once.
In such a hectic and busy life, is it possible to manage our stress?
Yes, definitely. One only needs to know how.
The most effective key to stress relaxation is to use one’s breath adequately. Increased oxygen intake can reach the brain within seconds and help to calm us. There are many kinds of relaxation and breathing techniques, the easiest to understand and practice are 4-square breathing, JPMR muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation.
4 square breathing:
Inhale (for four counts) 1,2,3,4
This is like 4 sides of a square, thus called four square breathing. This can be repeated multiple times till the person feels calmer.
8 muscle group relaxation:
Each muscle group has to be tensed for 30 seconds and then released before moving on to the next muscle group. The eyes should be closed while doing this.. When doing this for the first time, start with one or two rounds of it.
- Whole arms – slightly extended, elbows bent, fist tightened and pulled back.
- Whole legs – extended, toes pointed up
- Stomach – pushing it back towards the spine.
- Upper chest and chest – inhaling into the upper lungs and holding for a count of ten
- Shoulders – picking them up towards the ears
- Back of the neck – pushing the head back
- Face – squinting eyes, scrunching features towards the tip of the nose.
- Forehead and scalp – raising eyebrows.
(You can give a gap of 30 seconds or more between each muscle group)
Mindfulness is a school of thought that believes in concentrating in the moment completely, and doing only one task at a time.
It is easy for our mind to jump, and this contributes to the restlessness we often feel that makes us stressed. Although mindfulness is a philosophy that can be extended to the whole day, you can start by practicing meditation.
Hands rest on the thighs, facing down.
The eyes are somewhat open and the gaze rests gently on the floor in front of you about four to six feet away.
The idea is that whatever is in front of you is what's in front of you. Don't stare or do anything special with your gaze; just let it rest where you've set it.
Begin by just sitting in this posture for a few minutes in this environment. If your attention wanders away, just gently bring it back to your body and the environment.
The key word here is "gently." Your mind will wander; that's part of what you will notice with your mindfulness: minds wander. When you notice that yours has wandered, come back again to body and environment.
The second part of the practice is working with the breath. In this practice rest your attention lightly (yes, lightly) on the breath.
Feel it as it comes into your body and as it goes out. There's no special way to breathe in this technique.
Once again, we are interested in how we already are, not how we are if we manipulate our breath.
If you find that you are, in fact, controlling your breath in some way just let it be that way.