Across our nation, people are feeling stressed and anxious about the coronavirus pandemic. As we shelter-in-place, we don’t have access to some stress-relieving activities we may have used in the past. While this emergency situation will pass, it is always wise to have an arsenal of relaxation strategies to help relieve stress and anxiety that can hit any time of the year. Our last blog focused on easy, everyday habits you can add that will help you cope and relax. This blog is offering more in-depth techniques you can incorporate into your current quarantined situation or post-quarantine life.
Relax with Breathing Techniques
Focusing on your breathing can make a big difference in your overall stress level. It may seem like a simple thing, but the way you breathe signals to the rest of your body, your current state. For example, short, shallow, and quick breathing sends messages to your brain that there is a reason to feel panic, which can trigger your fight-or-flight adrenaline response. To calm your mind and your body, follow these breathing techniques…
- Inhale through your nose slowly, watching your belly fill with air.
- Count slowly in your mind to 3 or 4 while inhaling.
- Slowly exhale, again while counting to 3 or 4, out through your nose.
If possible, close your eyes while practicing this breathing technique and imagine that you are inhaling peaceful and calm air. Focus then on the feeling of the air spreading through your body. Finally, imagine breathing out stress and tension. The good news is that it often only takes a few moments of this activity to reduce tension. And this technique can be performed anytime, anywhere, as a quick destress strategy.
Meditation is a relaxation strategy that can provide both short-term and long-term stress reduction. One thing that humans often lack is the ability to quiet the mind. This can lead to racing thoughts and anxiety. Meditation can provide an escape from that. There are many different types of meditation. One, in particular, that is very popular is practicing mindfulness. This technique involves spending time in the present moment. Sitting comfortably, one attempts to clear their mind of all thoughts and focuses on what they currently see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. This is designed to have you focus on the here-and-now and not worry or ruminate about the past, the potential future, or what is causing you stress.
Managing Stress is a Life-Long Practice
Stress and anxiety can have a way of sneaking into our lives and our thoughts. It is normal. Seeking out healthy ways to help curb that stress is important. Not all relaxation strategies will work for each individual. One must take some time exploring options to find what works best for them. Follow this simple breathing video to try the breathing technique explained above.
Check out some meditation apps to get you started on a meditation practice. You just might find a technique that transforms you. AIS, Inc. cares about the health and well being of all their clients – their minds and their bodies. Please check their blog for more ideas you can incorporate in your life to stay healthy all year long.