When a car cuts you off, your muscles tense.
When a 5-minute wait for an appointment turns into 30, you get frustrated.
When you drop your ice cream cone on the sidewalk, well, unkind words probably slip out of your mouth.
We all experience moments of passing stress that really shouldn’t linger and affect us, but it happens. Sometimes we dwell on those instances and even share the stories with our loved ones allowing the stress of the moment to bubble up once again within us. It’s crazy!
We need to just let those things go.
When we feel worried, our body triggers the fight or flight response which can lead to physical symptoms, like sweating, tight muscles, hives and irregular breathing patterns. Of course none of that is really good for us when we’re not actually in immediate danger.
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So, I thought it’d be fun to share a list of ideas for reducing stress, worries, anxiety or other ill feelings naturally. In therapeutic yoga, we often talk about letting go, but just how in the heck do you do that? Sure, a nice deep pigeon pose helps, but we can’t all just drop to our mats at any moment, right?
Here are a few ideas you can try almost anywhere with little effort! Perfect, right?
1. Focus on breathing.
Take a long inhale, sip in just a little more air, hold it for a few seconds, then exhale fully really pushing the air out of the belly and blowing through your mouth.
Do this three more times and notice what you feel. Does the air tickle your nostrils? Does your breath smell like coffee? Does your chest feel heavy as it rises and falls? Just be aware of the moment.
2. Use your imagination.
Close your eyes and picture a comforting scene. Are you lying on a beach? Can you feel the sun on your skin? Do you hear the rolling waves of the ocean? Is the sand soft behind your shoulders? Can you smell the salty air?
Put yourself in a calm, relaxed location with your mind and your bodily responses will follow along for the journey.
3. Ground yourself outside.
Touch something from nature, like grass, rocks, soil, trees, sand, flowers or leaves. I like to walk barefoot in grass or sit on the ground and hold a special rock. Take a moment to focus on the nature object and one random detail that you generally wouldn’t notice.
Is the grass wet with dew, which you’d miss if you were wearing shoes? Do the blooming flowers by your home have a random color on the backside, that you’ve never noticed before? Shift your focus to let the stress-causing thoughts to fade.
How do you like to let go, reduce anxiety and step away from stressful situations naturally?
Until next time,
PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!