Oh the irony of it all. I had wanted to write a post on how to relieve stress in just two minutes, to help to bring you back into balance quickly after a stressful event.
Just before I started writing it, I had an awkward exchange with someone that caused my “stress levels” to rise. I felt my blood pressure go up, my heart rate increase and I felt shaken up. My body was basically going into “fight or flight” mode and I needed to quickly do some of these two minute techniques that I’m about to tell you about. I just laughed to myself at the irony. So, I straight away put into practice some of these valuable yogic breathing and other calming tools that I have been using these last few years.
Here are Five Stress Relieving Techniques to help to calm the stress hormones that are being put out when you are in “fight or flight” mode.
1. Kundalini Yoga – Calming Breath Technique.
This kundalini yoga breathing technique was first taught to me a few years ago by my friend and yoga teacher Laurie Levine.
You block off your right nostril with your thumb and have your other fingers pointing straight up. Breathe only through your left nostril, in and out for 26 breaths or 2 minutes. Sit still for 1 minute afterwards to notice how you feel. This is a powerful technique and you will notice a significant change in how you feel afterwards. Laurie’s video of this is here.
2. Listen to Calming Music.
Many research studies have shown time and time again, that listening to music such as quiet classical music or the sounds of nature does things like lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate and decrease the stress hormones that may be pulsating around your body.
So, if something has made you feel stressed and you are able to access some music at home or on an ipod if you are out, go ahead and do so for at least two minutes. Again sit still for a moment afterwards if you can and feel the changes that have occurred in your body. Jonathan Goldman wrote an incredible little book called The 7 Secrets of Sound Healing which show the worthwhile benefits that sound has on your health. It also comes with a beautiful 25 minute CD with the most incredible sounds. It is definitely one of those pieces of music that immediately calms you down.
3. Walk Barefoot on the Earth.
If you are in a place where you are able to walk barefoot on the grass or sand or the earth, this is also a great way to relieve stress. I also posted on the facebook page about this.
Walk quickly or slowly at first depending on how you are feeling (there may be some emotion to shift) and gradually slow yourself down and become more rhythmical. Within two minutes you will begin to feel a shift within your body and feel better.
4. Move Your Body.
Find a way to move your body for two minutes. Again, much research shows that moving for even this short period of time, helps to release stress hormones in the body and instead promote “feel-good” hormones like dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. The result – a greater feeling of well-being.
So, go for a quick walk, get on an exercise bike, have a quick skip, run on the spot, do some star jumps. Even if you need to do this in the bathroom at work. Do whatever you can, to find a way to move and release stress.
5. Place your hands on your heart and breathe.
Go into a brief meditiative state. Simply close your eyes, place your hands one over the other on your heart, and simply breathe.
Breathe in an easy and rhythmical way as this is very calming on your system and begins to heighten what is called the parasympathetic nervous system.
Also, the act of closing your eyes puts you out of the beta state (waking) and into an alpha state (meditative, relaxation). Being in this alpha state helps to reduce stress.
Breathe in this way for at least two minutes, and again be still for a moment and notice how you feel.
Not all of these suggestions are going to be realistic for you given where you may be at that particular time. However, even choosing one thing to do for two minutes will help create a change in the stress response in your body.
The most important thing is to calm the stress hormones that are pulsating through the body and allow a more calming state to emerge.
Know that this is a process, sometimes there is a lot of emotion that needs to be vented first, but please do that in a safe way. Once you have vented some emotion, you are likely to be in a better position to try some of the stress relieving techniques.
Relieving stress is an ongoing process, and it is also very important to look at the deeper issues in your life as well.
In the meantime, take that two minutes to care for yourself if a stressful situation has arisen and sent you off balance.
Take good care.