Whether you have a minute, 10 minutes or three hours to spare, here are simple ways to take some time out and feel less frazzled.
If you have one minute…
Also known as the Emotional Freedom Technique, tapping has proven useful in helping you to de-stress. This psychological acupressure technique works on the meridians or energy points in your body, reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and sending calming signals to the brain.
Li Si Yang, a health and fitness coach from Hawaii-based Journey to Fitness, says your meridian points include the fleshy side of your hand (under your pinkie), eyebrows (where the brows meet the nose bridge), side of the eyes, under your eyes, under the nose, chin, collarbone, under the arm, and the top of your head. Using your index and middle fingers, tap these meridian points repeatedly for one minute using medium to hard pressure to help de-stress.
If you have five minutes…
Write or draw out your negative feelings
Known as ‘dumping’, this is a technique of scribbling or drawing in a journal (used specifically for this purpose) about whatever is causing you stress.
Li Si says this helps you express and let out your frustration at a situation or a person. As you move your pen, imagine all the negativity flowing out of it and onto the paper. “This exercise helps you ’empty’ your mind of whatever is stressing you out and will leave you calmer,” she explains.
If you have 30 minutes…
Watch a motivational video
YouTube is full of inspiring videos featuring motivational coaches and life gurus – think Tony Robbins and the Ted Talks, says Li Si. Find those that deal with stress management and listen to how the presenters broach the topic.
More often than not, our mental and emotional stress is caused by unnecessary worry, and the talks can offer a different perspective on your problem and inspire you to find new solutions. Best of all, you will come away feeling more in control of your emotional health.
If you have 1.5 hours…
Connect with nature
Walking barefoot outdoors is a good way to feel more centred, says Sally Forrest, a managing director and holistic expert at Soul Centre. Find an open field or a park, kick off your shoes and feel your feet connecting with the ground beneath you – pay attention to the way your toes are digging into the wet earth and damp grass.
Spend this time in silence, observing the beauty of your natural surroundings as you walk. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
If you have 2.5 hours…
Watch a funny movie
This is a great temporary escape from the stresses of everyday life. It’s also a good way to give your body a break, says Sally. Laughter is one of life’s best ways to de-stress: it relaxes you and reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body. So go on, slot in that DVD, sit back, and let laughter be your medicine.
*This article first appeared in Her World March 2016 and was written by Sasha Gonzales