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If you are crazy stressed right now, these 8 relaxation truths are for you

Posted September 7

On days when you feel like you’re going to explode, or there isn’t enough air to breath or enough time in a day, there are some extremely practical tips to release yourself from this horrible tension.

(As I write this, I’m thinking about the million things that I need to get done for my wedding in two months. Not little things like figure the seating chart out for the wedding dinner. But big things like getting a venue. And a dress. And a photographer. And everything else. So, this is coming from both personal experience and scientifically proven tricks.)

1. First things first- get enough air

I know this sounds trivial, but stop and take three deep breaths. Right now. Feel the oxygen go all the way to your fingers and toes. Every single person has enough time to fit in three deep breaths.

Scientifically, deep abdominal breathing is proven to reduce anxiety and stress and calm the mind, according to the American Institute of Stress.

2. Change your scenery

Go for a walk (right now, if possible). This is doubly beneficial. The fresh air and low-key exercise automatically starts to relieve stress.

3. Give your mind a break

On your walk, give your mind a break. Focus on how your body moves and the noises around you. Let your mind wander.

4. Do this incredibly beneficial practice

Spend fifteen minutes meditating. Meditation helps you gain and maintain peace through the rest of the day, according to Mayo Health Clinic.

If you’re not sure how to do this, check out one of Spotify’s free Guided Meditations. On especially overwhelming days at work, I will go into a break room and spend five minutes doing one of these sessions. Once it’s done, I can get back to work feeling more focused and efficient than before.

5. Write down your thoughts

Once you’ve meditated, you can sort through your thoughts better. Write down the things that are overwhelming you. To-do lists can help you focus on one task at a time and help reduce your stress, but make sure not to put too much on the list. (For example, try no more than five points.)

Personally, I’ve found that keeping a brief gratitude journal everyday helps lower my stress all around. It trains my mind to turn negative thoughts into more positive ones and helps me prioritize what is most important.

6. Ask the most important questions

Ask yourself these vital questions:

1. Why do I feel so anxious?

Dig deeper than ‘I have too much to do.’

2. Will this matter in one day? One week? One year? 20 years?

There are some stresses that have lifetime consequences, but many really don’t matter in the long scheme of things. Focus on what matters most and only on things you have the power to do something about.

3. What can I delegate to someone else?

You don’t have to do it all. It might require letting go of some control, but you can do it.

7. Listen to calming music

As you get going on your to-do list, put on some relaxing music in the background to keep your calm mood going. Studies show that certain music can help reduce heart rate, blood pressure and reduce anxiety.

I recommend listening to Claude Debussy (on Spotify, Pandora or YouTube). It doesn’t get more calming than that.

8. Force a smile

This is going to feel stupid, but force your face to smile right now. You likely don’t feel like it, but just that action can actually help lower your heart rate (the body’s response to stress), according to an article by Smithsonian Magazine.

At the end of the day, remember, it is going to be alright. So breathe, go through the rest of these steps and have a better day.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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