Its the middle of the week and most of you are halfway through your work week or training cycle. You most likely have a hectic schedule and it’s times like this when you need to be able to take a quick step back and recharge you “batteries”
When i refer to batteries, I mean your total stress level that accumulate from every aspect of your life, these include but are not limited to, work, strenuous exercise, poor diet, lack of sleep, etc. Now you may think that each of these different aspects of your life have their own capacities that get drained throughout the week. However; this is a HUGE misconception, Stress is stress, whether it comes from a difficult business meeting, a short night’s sleep, or a heavy workout session, all of these things deplete the same energy source in your body.
That being said, there are multitude of little tricks you can do throughout your day to help recharge your energy level. These tricks are based off of limiting the activation of your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and recover).
I wanted to share with you three practice I have found that have scientific support as well as real life application. Each of these exercises may work differently depending on your stress level. You may have to practice a few times before they yield the stress deterring effects you are looking for.
Each of these exercises will be listed in order of convenience as far as time constraints go.
Imagine you are alone in room, sitting in a chair. As you sit, you can feel the tension all over your body. Take a deep breath, as you do so, imagine the tension being drawn into your lungs. As you exhale feel the tension leave your body. From the head down, with every breath you feel the tension leave your neck muscles, then your shoulders, your back, etc, all the way down to your feet. Keep breathing until all the tension has been exhaled from your body.
There are studies that show listening to relaxing music helps lower your heart rate and breathing. Find a place where you will not be disturbed. It can be at your desk, in the bathroom, or even on a park bench. Pick a song that you are familiar with and hat slow pace with positive lyrics (no hard rock or house music!). Start the song and close your eyes. As you sit and listen, sing along to the music in your head (or aloud if you prefer). Don’t pay attention to anything else going on around you. Just focus on the music and relax. By the end of the song, you should feel mentally rebooted and relaxed.
This comes from the practice of qigong, or wholistic positive energy practices. This style of breathing is common in yoga. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can focus your attention on your breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nose and into your belly for about 4-6 seconds, do not use your chest to breath! Exhale slowly through your nose for about 8-12 seconds. Practice until you can maintain this pace, breathing from your belly. Continue for 5-12 minutes as time allows. The key is to focus on your breathing, and to not let your thoughts get distracted, especially by negative or stressful thought. When you finish your should feel recharged, mentally focused, and stress free.
These are just a few technique and you can combine them for better success. Feel free to utilize one or all of these multiple time a day. And these are just some examples. There are plenty more positive mental and physical practices out there that help restore the body after enduring heavy amounts stress. These are here to just help you start and find what works for you!