How to de-stress and regain calm

Feeling frantic? Try these expert tips on how to de-stress and centre yourself.

reduce-stress-and-regain-calmTake pleasure in nature
Taking in a bit of natural scenery can do so much good. It doesn’t necessarily mean trekking up a mountain – a walk in the park can have the same effect. A study at the University of Washington found that just looking out of the window on to lovely scenery could lower the heart rate, even when you’re under stress.

Imagine your way to more energy
Take a few minutes to visualise energy flooding into your body. Sit down, close your eyes and take five slow, deep breaths. Then imagine that what you’re breathing in is not just air, but a long wisp of pure, shining, golden energy, and as you hold this inside you, its energy starts to spread through your body. As you breathe out, imagine your breath expelling all the fatigue from your body and mind, getting rid of it like an old puff of grey cloud. Do this for another 10 breaths, and feel the benefits!

Overwhelmed? Do the right thing
When you feel overwhelmed by what’s going on, identify the one thing that is causing you the most stress. Perhaps it’s as an awkward phone call or a decision you need to make – then just do it. You will feel much better and far less stressed.

Know your body
Your body is the best barometer of your psychological state. Pre-empt mental stress by staying aware of your body. Deliberately relax your jaw, shoulders and neck, then make your mental pictures positive. You’ll feel the difference.

Stand back, to gain perspective
When the pressure is on, take a deep breath and stand back from the situation. Yes, it’s bad right now, but ask yourself, “Will this matter in six months? Or five years?” The answer is very rarely “Yes”.

Accept a level of uncertainty
Situations where we have no control are stressful – for example, when we’re stuck in traffic or people are compromising our ability to meet a deadline. In these situations recognise what you can’t change and accept that there’s no shame in that. Once you do that, you’ll start to regain calm.

Tackle something small to see big
When you feel that life is running away from you, stop and take control of a small area of it – you can tidy your desk or the bathroom cupboard. Regaining the advantage over one small bit of chaos helps you feel like you can move forward.

Smile
This is usually the last thing we feel like doing when stress is mounting, but if you can raise a smile at someone, not only will they smile back, but you’ll feel better – the mere act of smiling tricks your body into feeling happier.

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