My Favorite Ways to Relieve Stress
Now that you’ve read Do You Know How Stressed You Really Are? , it is time to begin releasing those tight muscles, clinched jaws, and slow down that racing mind! There are a number of ways to relieve stress. I think I’ve tried most of them, and would like to share my favorites.
Move! Exercise of any kind loosens things up. My favorite is to walk, or put on some really loud and fast music and move around the house to the beat. I found that I even enjoy household chores better when I can move about to something that encourages motion. For me, that has always been Tchaikovsky’s War of 1812. For my son, it is Lady Gaga. Other exercises that work well are hiking, biking, or sports of any kind – although competitive sports generally don’t relieve my stress because people take them much too seriously. Most often, being outdoors and enjoying the beauty of the world around us in combination with our exercise of choice is the most effective.
Laughter. Remembering to not take myself, or life, too seriously is absolutely critical in maintaining an attitude of joy. It is easy to get caught up in the drama of the moment, reacting to situations, rather than taking a step back to look at whether they are even important within the grandest vision of our life. Making light of the situation can help stop a negative reaction in it’s tracks, and it certainly creates a more amenable atmosphere at work and at play. A good giggle lowers the blood pressure, massages the heart and surrounding organs, provides endorphins to the brain – and generally makes us feel so much better. I believe we should make an effort to laugh hard once or twice a day. My friends know that I don’t always get that done, but I’m practicing (and do you know that you can get a whole room laughing just by laughing out loud yourself? Try it, it works!)
Massage. There are two things about a good massage from a therapist you know, and are comfortable with, that cause it to rank in my top five list of stress relievers. The first, and most obvious, is when the massage therapist knows right where your knots are and they quickly provide relief. They then can spend the rest of the hour relaxing the rest of your muscles to noodle like consistency. The second is human touch. We all crave human touch. It makes us feel cared for, pampered if you will. Human touch can be extremely healing and provide us with enough positive energy to get our second wind. Massage, combined with Reiki, is one of the most powerful ways I have found to achieve complete and total relief from stress.
Meditation. Meditation provides great stress relief, especially when it is practiced on a consistent basis. For me, those first few minutes as I begin to concentrate on my breathing and visualize myself in my favorite place allows my muscles to relax and practically liquefy. I can feel the muscles let go, and grow heavy as they settle gently in my chair or bed. As I concentrate on my breathing, my mind slows down and gradually becomes still. It is in those moments it is easy to imagine the angels singing, and the whisper of love from every direction of the Universe.
Gratitude. Take time to express your gratitude for what you have, for everything that is going right in your life (and even those things that are not so right). When faced with stressful situations, we often lose sight of all the positive aspects of each and every moment. It is best when this attitude of gratitude is with us at all times, but if we forget throughout the day, taking the time at the end of the day to write down all the things we are grateful for is a powerful antidote to a stressful day. This end of day activity allows us to give positive thought predominance as we move into sleep. And, our brain will continue working to deliver solutions to our conscious mind that allows us to be more creative and positive as we continue pursuing our goals.
There are as many ways to relieve stress as there are people in this world. These are my favorites. What are yours?
Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.