I recently gave a presentation about taking care of your body when you’re under stress. For most of us, that would be every day. Wanting to give something to people that they could remember when they’re caught in the middle of stress, I came up with three easy steps to de-stress. For the biggest effect, do these steps throughout the day and you’ll probably notice stress doesn’t get out of control nearly as often. Comment on your favorite de-stress technique and be entered for a prize.
1. Take 5 deep, long breaths and feel the sensations of your body from head to toe (Remember to breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in because that way you will have room for a big inhale—very important!)
2. Take a short walk (down the hall, around the building, up and down the stairs)
3. Put a smile on your face and visualize something that makes you feel good.
I do these three steps a lot and find in a very short time I feel much better. You can even do all three steps at once. Breathe deep, smile, and think about something you feel good about while taking a walk and in a minute or two you can’t help but feel better.
Bringing yourself back into the present moment by focusing on the breath and body has been shown to help you engage your mind in a way that promotes problem solving and creativity (just what you need when you’re stressed).
Add the pleasant memory of something you feel good about and you’ll be even more ready to go back to whatever you were doing with greater calm and ease. The brain needs to be trained to be aware of the pleasant and wonderful things in our lives. Otherwise, it tends to be focused on the negative.
What are you doing today to de-stress at work? Share your comments about your favorite de-stressing technique and, if you’re a University of Missouri employee, you’ll be entered into drawing for a new yoga mat!