5 Proven Relaxation Techniques
Let’s face it – being a leader can be stressful, and I’ve certainly noticed it show up as a common conversation during coaching sessions. It seems that many people have been conditioned to believe that we must work hard to be successful. When in reality, many times hard work just creates a hectic and unmanageable life, which equals high risk/low rewards.
If you’re not aware of how you ‘do stress’, then how can you change or reduce it? You may be thinking that you already know the stress drill…heart races, palms sweat, shallow breaths, thought processes get jumbled, and so on. And yet, sometimes you’re in such a pattern of stress that you don’t even notice the physical side effects.
We all get stressed out sometimes, but if it feels like stress seems to rule your days, it’s time to do something about it. Below are five relaxation techniques that just might work for you the next time you have an impending deadline or full blown crisis, or are just plain tired or irritable.
- Breathe. Change shallow, quick breaths to relaxed breathing. With your hand on your lower abdomen, count slowly as you breathe in and out, feeling the breath moving. Counting your breaths can help you to focus on deep breathing.
- Physiology. Move your body! Even if it’s just for a few minutes of walking around or drinking a glass of water or stepping outside for fresh air. When you’re in motion, your emotions are in motion too, helping to reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Calming thoughts. Calming thoughts probably won’t come very naturally to you during a stressful situation. When you’re ‘doing stress’, it’s difficult to be resourceful in the moment. Plan ahead. Prepare a list ahead of time, of all the thoughts that are calming for you: thinking of a loved one, remembering a time when you felt calm, saying ‘relax’, having a special photo to look at, etc. Continue adding to your Calming Thoughts list, and you’ll have many options to choose from that work specifically for you.
- Meditate. This relaxation technique has been proven to reduce stress and improve health, not to mention focus. Five minutes at a time is a great start – focus on your breath, or listen to relaxing music. If thoughts come through, simply observe them and let them go. Keep it simple. You’ll be able to meditate longer with practice. Isn’t now the time to develop your ‘meditation muscle’?
I know stress well. I experienced a lot of it in my corporate job. My coach suggested I meditate – something I had never experienced before. Wouldn’t you know, the first day I meditated – chair facing the window, office door closed – one of the manager’s walked in and said, ‘what are you doing, meditating?!’ I burst out laughing, so did he. I’ve never forgotten my first meditation experience! Joy
5. Download Apps. Download apps to help you to relax; there are many to choose from. Google ‘relaxation technique apps’ and choose the best one for you and your mobile device.
Simply paying attention to your body during stress, and utilizing any one or more of these relaxation techniques, can begin to change the pattern and will have you finding relief in no time.
Each of the relaxation techniques listed above takes five minutes or less! It’s not a matter about not having the time to do them, it’s about creating new habits that support you in the short and long term.
What’s your preferred relaxation technique? Share below – I’d love to hear.
Looking for more ways to reduce stress? Experience Joy’s Relaxation Techniques workshop where you can familiarize yourself with a variety of relaxation techniques that really work! Invite Joy to your company’s next Lunch ‘n Learn event!