You can try these stress busting techniques at any time! These stress management techniques can help you reduce anxiety before an important meeting, calm you down when stuck in traffic, help you keep cool when faced with irritating people or situations and reduce fear and phobias when stuck in elevators or a dentist's chair.

1. Abdominal Breathing (1 min)

Place your right hand below the navel in a relaxed manner. Simply focus on the sensation of your clothes against the right palm. As you inhale, expand the belly. Pause and count to 3. As you exhale contract the belly. Pause and count to 3. Repeat this 10 times.

Focus: As simple as this seems, it is the hardest thing to do when stressed. The trick is to constantly remind yourself to keep all your attention on the movement of the belly and the counting.

2. Count down from 10 to 1 (2 mins)

Count down slowly from 10 to 1. Breathe in fully and breathe out slowly. As you breathe out say the number 10 in your mind. As you exhale, imagine all tension and stress leaving your body. Repeat for 9 breaths, breathing out the numbers 9 to 1. If you forget the count at any time, simply start from 10 again.

Focus: For this exercise to be effective it is important to breathe out slowly, in a relaxed yet attentive way.



3. 3 Mins - Squeeze and Release (3 mins)

This is a progressive muscle relaxation technique where we gradually tighten the entire body and then relax it releasing all the coiled up energy. You can practice this sitting down or lying down.

Technique 1: Full Body

Start with your toes, squeeze your toes,and slowly move up your body squeezing your ankles, calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, chest, fingers, wrists,arms, scrunch up your face and hold for a count of three. Imagine all your organs and cells getting squeezed and releasing their toxins. Release with a soft sigh imagining the stress oozing out of your body. Repeat second and third time holding for a count of 5 and 10 respectively.

Technique 2: Part By Part

As shown in the picture below, scrunch your face then relax it. Repeat in a similar fashion with your arms, shoulders, chest, thighs and legs.

Tips for Stress Management Techniques

Focus: Give your very best to the tightening aspect, making certain you do not release the toes or the lower parts as you go higher (technique 1). Feel the contraction of your body or body part fully and release completely, experiencing the relaxation that immediately follows the release.



4. Shoulders and Neck (5 mins)

Roll your shoulders and neck to release stiffness. Close your eyes and take your attention towards your shoulders. Slowly roll your shoulders all the way back, up, forward and down, making a full circle. Repeat 3 times. Now slowly rotate your head from the left to the right in a smooth, circular motion, leaning your left ear to your left shoulder and then leaning your right ear to your right shoulder being aware of each and every movement of the neck muscles. Repeat 3 times.
Do the Count down from 10 to 1 as mentioned in point 2.

Focus:Completely focus your attention on the sensations of your shoulders and neck and relax in to the gentle, slow, circular motion.

Shoulders and neck to release stiffness

Shoulder Rolls

Neck Rolls



5. Special Mantra or Word (10 mins)

Take a few minutes to immerse yourself in the Squeeze and Release technique in point 3, above. Simply observe the inflow and outflow of your breath and think of a positive word or mantra that appeals to you. You may choose any word such as "Peace", "Kindness", "Love", "Health" or any mantra such as "Om" and repeat the word with every exhalation. Try connecting with the word in a gentle way, simply repeating it with every exhalation without actively thinking any thoughts. If you are unable to come up with a specific word, simply use the mantra - Om. Keep repeating the word until you feel fully relaxed and thoughtless.

It is not necessary to choose the same word every time, however when this exercise is done regularly (once/twice a day) for an extended period (2 weeks or more) you will find that the word acquires a special significance for you. It gets absorbed into your subconscious mind and you are able to relax in fewer breaths than before. Also see Mantra Chanting.

Focus:This method becomes very effective when you choose a word that you can genuinely connect with. Repeat the word in a peaceful, non attached manner trying to absorb the essence of word rather than thinking about it.

Herbert Benson, M.D. (born 1935), an American medical doctor, cardiologist, and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston coined "Relaxation Response" as a scientific term for meditation, and he used it to describe the ability of the body to stimulate relaxation of muscle and organs. In his book "The Relaxation Response" he reports that meditation induces a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body collectively referred to as the "relaxation response". The relaxation response includes changes in metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain chemistry.

The above technique of repeating a word or mantra in a passive, peaceful state has been recommended by Dr. Benson and has been known to elicit The Relaxation Response. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Relaxation_Response



6. Self-Massage

Use these self-massage techniques in a loving, gentle way to ease out your muscular and mental tensions. By simply observing the touch sensations we can relax the areas of the body that are being massaged, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system and you feel relaxed and soothed.

Scalp

Place your thumbs behind your ears while spreading your fingers on top of your head. Move your scalp back and forth slightly by making circles with your fingertips for 15-20 seconds.

Scalp

Eyes

Close your eyes and place your thumbs directly under your eyebrows, near the bridge of your nose. Slowly increase the pressure for 5-10 seconds, then gently release. Repeat 2-3 times.

Eyes

Sinuses

Place your fingertips at the bridge of your nose. Slowly slide your fingers down your nose and across the top of your cheekbones to the outside of your eyes. Repeat 2-3 times.

Sinuses

Shoulders

Reach one arm across the front of your body to your opposite shoulder. Using a circular motion, press firmly on the muscle above your shoulder blade. Repeat on the other side. Repeat 3 times on each side

Shoulders
Focus:This method becomes very effective when you choose a word that you can genuinely connect with. Repeat the word in a peaceful, non attached manner trying to absorb the essence of word rather than thinking about it.

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