We’ve all had them. Those days when you wish you could have stayed curled up on the couch watching Netflix all day and eat chips. Sometimes it is so difficult to unwind after the mind has been racing all day to just keep your head above water. I have had many a night where falling asleep was all I wanted to do, but I just couldn’t calm my thoughts down and relax enough to get there. Well, I’ve got some techniques which have helped me to calm down. These are exactly what you need- simple, easy and most likely to work for you too!
1. Sit down, close your eyes and take 10 deep and slow belly breaths. The physiological research surrounding the power of breath demonstrates the validity of this practice. If you are on the train home from work or sitting on the couch you can do this. It doesn’t happen that often, but when I get super stressed out, it can sometimes end up in an anxiety episode. Deep breathing is the way out of that stressed and panicky feeling for me. It’s a tried, tested and true way to unwind.
2. Give yourself a temple and neck massage. If you have someone to do this for you, even better. I find that simply massaging my temples and working the back of my neck and down the sides with my hands helps to take tension out of my body. By relieving tension, a natural feeling of relaxation will follow. Doing this for five minutes is great. If you’ve got more time, as long as you like:)
3. Something I have done since I was a child, who had trouble falling asleep, is to take a piece of paper and right down every thought that comes to my mind. Sometimes it ends up like a list, other times it is like a story. Periodically the thoughts are just chaotic and others they make sense. It doesn’t matter. The act of writing things out is like therapy for me. When I was younger I could write pages and pages but now it seems to take less time to find the calm by doing this. Seriously, if you aren’t the type to keep a diary, you can benefit from writing and then just throw it away.
4. Go for a walk. Take yourself out of the stressful internal time you are having by physically removing yourself. Walk around the block, through a park, anywhere. Breathe in the fresh air, look up into the forgiving beauty of the sky. Notice the birds or squirrels scampering around. I use this when I am stressed but it also does wonders to quell anger. I tend to feel anger physically and walking it off is not just a figure of speech for me, lol.
5. Take out your old pictures and go through them. Every time I look at old pictures, I get positive feelings of nostalgia and have fond memories enter my mind. Trying to just take my mind off of what is making me feel stressed doesn’t work for me. It’s the emotional engagement that helps, I believe. So I take out those old pictures, ones of vacations, family get togethers, my old high school get-ups, photos of when I used to dance…just dive into those pictures and see how it works for you.
6. Listen to your favourite song or music by your favourite group. The reason why you like the song so much is because it stirs emotion within you and you enjoy that. Let it take over and just listen to it. Close your eyes even, dance a little bit if you like to dance. I adore Enya and have listened to her voice since I was a girl. When I am stressed, I put her familiar angelic voice on and I just feel calmer.
7. Get yourself an essential oil diffuser and some top grade Frankincense essential oil. This is so easy- just put water and 5 drops of that oil into your diffuser, turn it on and lay down nearby. Inhaling frankincense calms the nervous system. I kid you not, I have put this oil on and within 15 minutes I feel a huge difference. The power of plants and their biocompatibility with our bodies is a force to be reckoned with. You could also combine this one with some of the techniques listed above to enhance the experience.
I truly hope you find these ideas to be helpful, maybe you have success doing some of these already. I would love to read your favourite techniques in the comments! The more ideas, the less stress we are all bound to let hang around in our lives.
Love & Light,