For many people coping with stress is a major challenge in life. Without some stress, life would be dull and unexciting, but you need to ensure your stress is working for you, not against you. If you had no stress at all you'd be so laid back you wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning, but there are times in your life when taking time out or getting away from it all is the healthy option because when stress becomes too much you need to do something about it.
Here are some suggestions for simple ways to take a mental break and reduce stress levels!
Twenty thousand times a day you take a breath... in and out all day long! For such a practised activity you would think we would have it fairly well perfected. But just because we do it all the time doesn't mean we're good at it. Do you breathe well? If not you wont be doing your stress levels any good!
Try this: lie flat on your back, relax and draw air into your belly first, then into the part of your chest where the middle section of ribs are located so that you feel your chest gently pressing against your armpits, then the upper part of your lungs so that you feel the collar bone, or clavicle, rising slightly. Breathe slowly out, concentrating on the sensation of the abdomen dropping, then the ribs dropping and squeezing inwards, then the clavicle. This is a breathing technique that can reduce stress, improve concentration and boost energy.
Fresh air and a change of scene is a great way to rejuvenate yourself and reduce stress. We all know how good fitness makes us feel, so some peaceful walking can be just the trick to deal with stress. Motion is soothing and takes your mind off problems, and walking combines them all gives you all round benefits.
If you live around Manly there are a number of great walks to do: try a stroll to beautiful Shelley Beach, up the short hill, and around the lookouts with amazing views of the ocean. Or head north over Queenscliff and Harbord for a good hill climb! North Head is a great longer walk with impressive views of Sydney. A favourite with everyone is the Spit to Manly walk - start at the Spit Bridge end (catch a bus or taxi there from Manly) and be prepared for a long walk along the harbour coastline, up a good hill, and down past Fairlight to reach Manly.
Visualisation is a very simple concept and we already do it when you daydream or explore your memories. By using this inner dialogue and combining it with your creative imaginative, you can give yourself constructive and positive messages that deal with stress, worry and negative thinking.
Try this: lie down and close your eyes gently. Scan your body looking for tension, and try to relax all your muscles as best as you can. Take a deep breath in and out. Visualise a place where you can be safe and relaxed. You can involve all your senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. For example, imagine a green forest with the trees, blue sky, white clouds, and pine needles underfoot. Add the sounds: wind in the trees, water running, birdcalls and so on. Include the feel of the ground under your shoes, the smell of pine, and the taste of a grass stem or mountain spring water. When your place is as real as you can make it repeat short positive statements that affirm your ability to relax. For example: "tension is flowing out of my body" or "I am totally relaxed". These are affirmations and are a well recognised and powerful way to beneficially refocus your mind on the positive and help reduce stress.
To find out more about dealing with stress, stress tips, stress reduction, or living a long, healthy, and happy life contact us!