April 30, 2014

Unwind. Release. Discover

image Photo Credit: Slgckgc via Flickr CC

Feeling tired, overworked, busy and stressed? You aren’t alone. It seems that most people are feeling low on energy, tense and like they are always ‘behind the eight ball.’ Stress is one of the biggest barriers to happiness, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Knowing how to release built up stress, anxiety and sadness allows us to move through life with more ease and more calm… and ultimately more happiness.

The solution? Find a couple of relaxation methods that you love, and do them daily or at least weekly. The trick is to have these methods become part of your regular routine so you don’t have to go searching for something that works when life gets tough and you are feeling stressed. Ever tried meditating for the first time when you are stressed? It is seriously hard work!  

Back to Nature

If you are feeling stressed, a great way to unwind and support your body and your happiness is to get back to nature and enjoy connecting with the Earth. Think of wading in the ocean, walking barefoot through the sand, going camping, sitting under a tree with your shoes off and nestled in the grass.

As children we were always ‘grounding’ as we ran around barefoot and playing in the sandpit or the park. As adults, however, we spend most of our time in shoes and socks, on the carpet, or on concrete…we rarely enjoy direct contact with the Earth.

If you don’t enjoy ‘getting back to nature’ in this way, there are still so many benefits from going for a walk or sitting by the ocean, a lake or in a park with gorgeous trees and flowers. The Earth provides so many healing qualities, allowing us to slow our minds and connect with the largeness of life.

Exhale and Release

Quick and easy is what we are often looking for in life. This is one of my favourite yoga techniques for releasing the stress of the day and it only takes a few minutes and requires nothing but yourself and the floor.

Release all the tension, all the anger, all the sadness, all the tiredness, all the uncertainty that you might be feeling. 

  • Start by sitting cross-legged on the floor
  • Take a big breath in
  • Raise your arms above your head and as you do, exhale as forcefully as you can
  • Swing your hands back down by your side as you inhale 
  • This sequence of movements looks like you are throwing something away over your head, using both your arms
  • Repeat until you feel ready to stop
  • Do this sequence as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable
  • When you finish sit still with your hands resting on your knees and just breathe

I always feel great after doing this exercise. I feel fresh energy moving through my body, I feel a buzzing sensation and I feel much, much lighter. If, like me, you store most of your tension in your shoulders, this is also a great exercise to release some of that tightness.

Start Today

Which activities provide you with the most relaxation, release and joy? Which activities leave you feeling lighter in your body and mind?

Not sure? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself.

Which activities allow you to:

  • stop the incessant mental chatter in your head
  • slow your breathing rate
  • make you smile
  • help you see a more positive view of your life

Aim this week to do one of the activities on your list each day, even if only for 10 mins. It is amazing what difference 10 mins can make, so try not to skip it even if you are super busy this week.

Still stuck? Try some of these ideas this week and see what works for you:

  • Enjoy a long bath
  • Get lost in a good book
  • Get moving in some form of exercise
  • Book in for a massage
  • Meditate (there are heaps of YouTube clips to get you started)
  • Spend some time in the garden
  • Get creative: paint, draw, knit, cook
  • Enjoy a coffee and read a magazine or book at a cafe
  • Have a good chat and catch up with a friend or family member

Start where you are, and with what you have. It is usually the simple things in life which are the most powerful.

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Jess xxx

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