Simple Tips to Release Stress Fast
We all experience stress, it’s a part of life; however, unaddressed stress can play havoc on your body. When you’re feeling tense and overwhelmed with life in general or while at work, doing exercises to release stress quickly will not only improve your peace of mind but will also improve your health and wellness in the long run.
A simple, yet powerful, exercise can help reduce anxious feelings quickly and easily. It’s called mirror work. Mirror work is the most effective method for learning to love yourself and to see the world as a safe and loving place, according to Louise Hay, an American self-help author and founder of Hay House.
How to Do Mirror Work
How to Do Mirror Work
Mirror work is done by looking in a mirror and vocally speaking positive affirmations to yourself with affectionate conviction. You can use it to release worry or to improve your self-confidence. Over time, doing mirror work often will reprogram your subconscious mind to believe wholeheartedly that the affirmations you tell yourself are, in fact, true.
When practiced frequently, the practice aids in increasing self-love and feelings of empowerment and creating inner peace and joy. Optimistic affirmations plant powerful seeds of thought in the subconscious to aid in supporting your evolving self-worth. You will be able to create a blissful way of life when nurtured by positive self-talk.
If at first, it doesn’t come naturally to talk to yourself while doing mirror work, imagine you’re complementing your best friend or loved one. Soon you will become comfortable speaking lovingly to yourself.
To relieve stress in the moment, you can use any mirror to do mirror work: in a bathroom, in your car’s rear-view mirror, or using a compact mirror. You can calm your mind by saying encouraging affirmations aloud to yourself, such as, “It’s okay; this too shall pass.” “I love you just the way you are.” “I choose to let go and to feel peaceful.” “I am excellent at what I do!” “I’ve got this! I am amazing!” “Everything always works out perfectly.” “I am an asset to this company.” “I love and believe in you!” “I am awesome!”
Doing mirror work daily for three weeks will help you form new life transforming behaviors that will enable you to live a joyful life. Make it a practice of saying “I love you!” each morning while you brush your hair, and while you’re putting on makeup (or shaving), tell yourself “I seriously rock!” “Look how beautiful (handsome) I look!” “I achieve anything I set my mind to!” Starting your day with mirror work is an excellent way to set the tone for your day.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Another excellent tool to release stress quickly is Emotional Freedom Technique, commonly referred to as EFT or Tapping Therapy. EFT is a psychological acupressure process founded by Gary Craig. EFT Tapping Therapy is based on the premise “The cause of all negative emotions and beliefs is a disturbance in the body’s energy system.”
EFT uses your own energy to clear the emotional connection with a memory and the body by tapping on a few meridian points with your fingertips. The meridian points are located:
1. At the top of your head,
2. on the inner eyebrows,
3. on the side of eyes,
4. under the eyes (on your cheekbones),
5. under the nose, under the bottom lip,
6. on the center of the collarbone,
7. under each arm (approximately three inches down),
8. inside wrist,
9. and on the fleshy side of your hands.
You can tap on either side of your body during tapping session—or on both sides simultaneously. While tapping simply feel what is bothering you and give it a number between 0-10 for a reference in how much you’ve cleared—10 being extremely uncomfortable and 0 being at peace. The goal is to get down to a 0.
Tapping can be done anywhere you feel comfortable doing it. To begin a tapping session, give your feelings a number, then say (aloud) supporting statements (examples below) to shift and release the unwanted feelings as you tap.
Begin by tapping on the side of your hand while stating a setup statement such as “Even though I feel this way, I deeply love and accept myself.” “Even though I feel ___________, I love, value and accept myself.” Then begin tapping on the top of your head and working down the meridian points as you say supporting[JM1] statements to let go of how you feel. The statement “I choose to let go now.” “I forgive myself and anyone who upset me.” “I am free to let go, and I choose to now.” “I am deserving of love, peace and happiness.” “I am filled with divine love and light.” End with a final tapping round while saying positive affirmations that affirm your wanted feelings and emotions. Then take a cleansing breath and sense the new positive energy radiate through your body as peace and calm is felt within.
Tapping brings cleansing energy to the meridian points as your mind directs the energy to that which is unbalanced in the body (by thought) to clear the “static” energy—the emotional blocks of your body’s bioenergy system. This restores your mind and body’s natural balance, which aids in releasing stress, worry, fears and disharmony in the body.
EFT can be performed anywhere. You can tap in the comfort of your own home or when you’re out and about, at school, in a bathroom, or at work. You actually don’t even need to “tap” per say—you can rub the meridian points or visualize tapping on the points in your mind if you are in public and feel stressed or anxious. EFT is a means of deep emotional and physical healing.
Physical Ways to Relieve Stress
People who are overly stressed often display their worries in their body carriage. Those who are weighed down with stress commonly have a poor posture or struggle with aches and pains in their body. They often slouch when sitting or concave their body inwards with rounded shoulders as they go about their business under the weight of the burdens they carry.
Acute stress can cause your body to tighten and become sore or tender where you are most prone to storing stress in your body. It can also cause disease and even premature death over the long run if you do not learn to become resilient to stress.
How you think, as well as your perception of stressful situations, have physical responses in your body. When you’re happy and confident you will naturally stand a bit taller, breath deeper, and walk faster. But when you’re constantly stressed, your immune system is suppressed, which can cause illness and disease, contribute to weight gain, and impact your emotional state, causing you to feel lethargic and depressed.
To help release stress, and to increase your resilience to it, you can implement physical steps to calm your mind and central nervous system. Studies show that meditation is an excellent way to rewire your brain for happiness, peace and success.
Contrary to what people may think, meditation doesn’t have to take long. Setting aside just a few minutes a day can help relieve stress and anxiety. Research shows that a few minutes of meditation per day can improve your state of mind by altering the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.
Meditation can be accomplished in a few minutes with these simple steps:
· Sit up straight in a chair, close your eyes, and place one hand on your heart (chakra) and the other hand on your stomach (solar plexus chakra).
· Focus on your breathing for a few moments. Then think positively about releasing what is bothering you by repeating a positive mantra that uplifts you such as, “I am at peace.” “I release all tension in my body with love.” “Everything always works out for my highest good.” “All is well.” “I choose to think thoughts that serve me.” “I love and believe in myself fully.” Be present. Let any wondering thoughts drift by like clouds.
· When you feel more relaxed and peaceful, end by taking three replenishing breaths and saying aloud three times, “Thank you! I love being me!”
· Open your eyes and drink a glass of purified water.
Another wonderful tool to release stress is deep breathing exercises. Dr. Weil has a simple breathing exercise that works incredibly well; it is called The 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath Exercise. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take much time. Dr. Weil recommends doing it four consecutive times two times a day — in the morning upon rising and again upon retiring at night. You can work up to doing eight rounds of it after a month.
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is done by placing your tongue up against the back of the front of your teeth (keeping it there during the duration of the exercise), breathing in through your nose for the count of 4, holding your breath for the count of 7, and exhaling through your mouth for the count of 8 while making a “whoosh” sound as you exhale. That will complete one round of The Relaxing Breath Exercise. Repeat it three more times.
Another helpful tip to release stress from your body is to mindfully set an intention to “let go” of any tension from your body as you do a muscle tautness freeing exercise. This exercise aids in bringing your awareness to how your body handles stressful situations, or even disturbing thoughts that make you feel anxious.
Muscle tension can lead to chronic pain, muscle spasms, and stiffness. To release tension, take a moment to scan your body and notice where you feel tension or pain. Knowing where you store stress will enable you to release the negative emotions. Common areas that store stress are the jaw, neck, shoulders, back and stomach/gut.
When you find where you store stress, set your attention on it and clinch the area tightly for a few seconds. Imagine all the stress going to that area to be released. As you release, take a deep cleansing breath and exhale while visualizing the negative emotions and tension leaving your body. Then visualize golden, healing white light filling your body and arura. Give thanks lovingly to your body for letting go. This will help to release the tension in your body and to feel more relaxed and at ease.
You may have heard the phrase, “energy flows to where attention goes.” Your mind is extremely influential in how you feel. Just thinking fearful thoughts can create undue stress in your body. Fortunately, your mind can also shift negative energy quickly. You can be prepared to better handle stress when it happens by regularly incorporating mental exercises in your life. Such exercises are essential to becoming the master of your mind, rather than letting it run-a-muck without supervision—creating a monkey mind.
Conditioning your mind to steer clear of having knee-jerk reactions to stressful situations and to release stress can add years to your life and greatly improve your well-being. What is perceived as a distressing event to one person may not be stressful at all to another. It is how we condition our minds that set us up for a healthy mental state—or not.
Incorporating psychological techniques can help you create a more balanced and happier attitude that wards off stress. According to American Psychological Association, there are five exercises you can do to help reduce stress:
It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby or a growing credit card bill. But when you give yourself permission to step away from the stressor, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed. It’s important to not avoid your stress (those bills have to be paid sometime), but even just 20 minutes to take care of yourself is helpful.
The research keeps growing — exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine. Even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can have an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. People who are stressed often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughing or smiling can do wonders for relieving some of the tension and improving the situation.
Call a friend, send an email. Sharing your concerns or feelings with another person does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person with whom you talk is someone you trust and someone you feel can understand and validate you. If your family is a stressor, for example, it may not be helpful to share your work woes with them.
Meditation and mindful prayer help the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives and develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. Much like exercise, research has shown that even meditating briefly can reap immediate benefits.
Feeling scatterbrained and overwhelmed brings more unwanted stress. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings can help to eliminate stress and increase mindfulness and an upbeat attitude. Mindfulness brings about inner peace, gratitude, inner-awareness and contentment, which help individuals to remain calm and levelheaded when nerve-wracking moments arise.
Mindfulness comes from living in the present moment, which is accomplished by bringing your attention to your thoughts, feelings and emotions. You can increase your inner awareness by doing less, eating slowly, spacing activities, meditating, not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
People who cultivate a positive attitude of gratitude are more loving, forgiving and appreciative—all of which support eliminating stress. These people appreciate the good times and seem to not give much energy to negative events. They see opportunities in challenging situations and make the most out of them.
Being grateful has a long list of benefits that can enrich your life. It enables you to: make new friendships, enrich your health and wellness, become happier and healthier, strengthen empathy and compassion, reduces anger and frustration, and increase your self-esteem and mental strength.
When you are positive and grateful, you are able to handle difficult situations better than those who are not. Those who are positive look for the good in others, are able to see the silver-lining in trying times, and are able to bounce back quicker when things don’t work out as hoped.
You can cultivate a positive attitude by practicing being hopeful, thankful, and cheerful day in and day out. Just like lifting weights can sculpt your muscles, your mind can be transformed as well. Studies show that cultivating an optimist mindset can help maintain a positive mood. Research has found that a positive mental state improves overall health, wards off disease and strengthens the brain. Negative emotions do just the opposite—they cause fear, stress and anxiety and illness.
Having a positive mindset enhances happiness, purpose and fulfillment. Those who are grateful and positive have closer relationships with their loved ones, are happier at work, and are generally healthier. Being positive also aids in better sleep and the ability to maintain a healthy weight better than those who are negative.
No worries if you are not particularly happy or positive. Gratitude and optimism can be cultivated. When you become optimistic and cheerful, you will attract positive people, circumstances and events into your life. You will begin to see your world as “half full” as your optimistic attitude takes root in your mind.
A surefire way to cultivate a positive attitude of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Keeping a journal not only gladdens your heart as you write down what you’re grateful for, but it also imprints in the subconscious mind to notice and seek out positive situations and people, which increases your awareness to what pleases you.
Keeping a journal filled with what you are grateful for is easy to do and doesn’t take much time. All you need is a journal or notebook and a couple of minutes a day. It’s best to designate a time each day so that you’ll be more likely to follow through with your journal keeping. As Dutch philosopher Rabbi Baruch Spinoza suggested in the seventeenth century, simply ask yourself the following questions each day for a month:
1. Who or what inspired me today?
2. What brought me happiness today?
3. What brought me comfort and deep peace today?
Answering these questions and/or recording your thankfulness each day for a month will generate a new habit of having gratitude that will help you find more meaning and joy in your life, as well as profound inner peace and tranquility.
Challenge yourself to write down new things you’re grateful for from the previous days. In so doing, you will find a deeper appreciation for the simple abundance around you that will enhance your life wonderfully. Remember, what you give your attention to will expand in your life. So the more you cultivate a positive attitude of gratitude, the more you will have to be grateful for.
You will be able to handle whatever comes your way by incorporating these proven life-changing, stress reduction exercises and techniques in your life. These tools will give you the ability to clear negative energy and be carefree, happy, and peaceful anytime you choose!
Carol Whitaker xo