Energy. It cannot be destroyed nor created. This is something that I was taught in a basic high school science class. Energy surrounds us, constantly moving, constantly changing something. When we get stressed out this energy gets pent up inside of us with no release and causes tension. This tension creates emotional and physical stress in our bodies. While some stress is good, too much of it can cause muscles aches and cramps, heart burn, weight gain, depression, heart attacks and other ailments to our bodies. A simple way to control the amount of stress in our lives is to allow the pent up negative energies out of our bodies and allow positive, relaxed energy to come in through breathing and meditation exercises.
While many of you may know about the benefits of yoga and pilates, not all of us have the time to attend a class. Some of us, including myself, prefer some “alone” time when contemplating life’s problems. Here are some quick and easy stress reducing tips you can do anywhere at anytime in just a few minutes.
Full Body Relaxation Exercise
This only takes 2-3 minutes to do and works wonders for relaxing your body. This exercise is a great way to start and end your day.
- Sit in a comfortable spot. If possible, sit in your favorite spot free from distractions.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
- Inhale and count to three while tensing your entire body, including your face. Count to three, then release your body and exhale while counting to three.
- Starting with your face and working down to your toes image each muscle softening. Imagine the tension draining out of your body, through your fingertips and your toes. You are sending the negative energy out of your body and allowing positive (relaxed) energy to come in.
- Move your awareness back up from the toes to the top of the head. Check for any tension. Imagine the tension going out of your body releasing out the fingertips, toes, and top of the head.
Complete Breath Exercise
1. Imagine your lungs in the shape of two balloons side by side.
2. Slowly breathe in, picturing the balloons filling up from the bottom to the top.
3. Hold and count to three.
4. Slowly exhale, picturing the air releasing from the balloons from the top first, then down towards the bottom.
This exercise allows you to increase your intuition by becoming more aware of your surroundings. It allows you to recognize the subtle changes in movement and energies around you allowing you to recognize simple things like body language, thus increasing your “intuition” and ability to read responses around you. The exercise is similar to the relaxation exercises mentioned above. Therefore, not only increasing your awareness, but also keeping you in a relaxed frame of mind.
1. Close your eyes and do three complete breath exercises (see above).
2. Tense all of the muscles in your body, including your face. Hold and count to three.
3. Relax and count to three as you allow your body to go limp.
4. Do three more complete breath exercises.
5. Slowly open your eyes and look around you. Watch people around you.
6. Pick an object, a person, or an animal and focus on them. “Feel” their mood, attitude, and energy level.
7. Tune out your own thoughts and tune into the object you have focused on. Really allow your intuition to come into play and not your own thoughts.
8. Once you have completely done this and are focused you are tuned in to nature’s energy and the rhythm of that energy.
9. The more you concentrate the more observant you will become.
This exercise can also be used to overcome obstacles in life. Instead of focusing on an object, keep your eyes closed and picture yourself overcoming the obstacle. Imagine the moment as real, “feel” the moment. The more real you make it in your mind the more confidence you will have in overcoming the obstacle. You will gain more confidence and a clearer image on how to tackle the obstacle.
Stress Overload Exercise
When in a pinch, and the stress is really pilling up, try this stress relieving exercise.
1. Do one complete breath exercise (see above).
2. Tense your body. Hold and count to three.
3. Release the tension in your body.
4. Do one more complete breath.
5. Relax more by imagining the tension evaporating from your muscles.