We all experience moments when life leaves us feeling unbalanced or stressed. The next time one of these moments strike, try one or more of the following five effective and simple techniques to relax and re-center.
1. Just Breathe
Our mental state is reflected in our breath. Whenever you notice your breath becoming shallow or fast, or that you’re holding your breath, relax and re-center by steadying your inhalations and exhalations. Practice in this way: close your eyes, inhale through your nose to a count of four, and exhale to a count of four. Breathing in this way can steady your breath, and by extension your body and mind, in less than a minute.
2. Take Short, Mindful Moments
It’s so easy for us to get lost throughout the day, as we tend to dwell on the past, future, and other things we have no control of, rather than focus on where we are in the moment. To combat the mind’s tendency to wander, practice taking short, mindful moments many times a day. During these brief moments, bring your awareness to your:
Body: How it feels and is positioned.
Thoughts: What are you thinking? Are you dwelling in the past or anticipating the future?
Emotions: Whether you’re feeling sad, happy, angry or worried, notice and acknowledge your emotions.
Location: Noticing the visual, audial, and other sensory details of our physical location – where we are – these are very effective ways to re-center ourselves.
Although technology has some wonderful benefits, constant access and communication can be overwhelming, so knowing when and how to take a break from our gadgets is very important. At least once per day, turn off or separate yourself from your devices. Instead, spend quality time with family and friends – or simply be with yourself.
4. Spend Time in Nature
Spending even small amounts of time in nature can relieve mental fatigue and allow you to center your body and mind. Being outdoors and aware of nature’s beauty can help you feel peaceful, yet energized. If it’s difficult for you to find a natural space, bring the outdoors inside by listening to nature sounds, growing indoor plants, or enjoying nature’s scents with earthy essential oils like sandalwood and patchouli.
5. Affirmations and Mantras
Simple mantras, or short, positive affirmations repeated over and over again, are a powerful tool to relax and center yourself when you feel stressed or negative. These phrases should be meaningful, reassuring, and ring true to you. Examples include, “I choose happiness,” “This will pass,” “I am strong,” or “I can handle whatever comes.” Experiment with different mantras until you find one that feels both inspiring and natural, and repeat it often.
-The Alternative Daily