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Everyone can become a little stressed in today’s fast paced way of living, not all of us can manage to fit in a trip to the spa and baths. Many things contribute to a higher level of stress so it’s important to remember to manage stress properly because it can and will take a toll on your health and well being. Finding time to include these methods in your daily routine can be a little tricky. Here’s 5 ways you can lower your stress level in just 10 minutes a day.
Tai-chi is an ancient Chinese art that focuses the mind on movement and breathing. This practice dates back to the Qing dynasty of the late 1600’s. There are many schools and trainers in cities across the world that can guide you in applying some of these techniques to your daily life.
A simple way to start is to sit comfortably in a quiet place, preferably close to the floor. Close your eyes and take a deep breath slowly and hold for a couple of seconds, slowly exhale. Listen to your surroundings and become aware of your breathing. Now place both hands on your chest with your palms flat to your chest and elbows facing out. Take a deep breath again and slowly release.
As you breath out this time, lift your hands off your chest, gathering up negative energy, and slowly push your arms forward away from you. Push away all the worries, and negative energy. Push out all thoughts that cause stress. Hold your arms at full reach for a minute as you continue slowly breathing in and out. Relax and reach down to the ground and place both your palms on the ground to connect with natural energy around you. Hold there for two minutes. Allow positive energy and thoughts to enter your mind and replace the stress with thoughts of good things you have achieved recently, or things you are grateful to have.
Repeat this again until 10 minutes have passed. Even with such a short session you can return to your daily activities feeling relaxed and energized.
The mind cognizes hundreds of thoughts per day and by nature we contemplate each of them to seek solutions to our daily problems. Such mind clutter only adds to stress when time pressure and situations out of our control rear their ugly head. Meditation in it’s simplest form is allowing time to recognize and acknowledge these thoughts to organize and collect them for clarity of mind. This helps reduce your nervous tension with a structured order to help you deal with many things at once when you are overworked or extremely busy.
Try the following exercise for 10 minutes during the day. Sit in the lotus position with your legs crossed, or folded together in a triangle formation. Rest your hands where they are comfortable, by your side, or in your lap. A quiet room is best whenever possible. Allow your thoughts to wander and observe yourself having a thought. Ignore the sounds around you, but if a thought about the noise or disruption occurs, allow it to pass. Don’t dwell on the details, simply allow the thought to pass and store them away. Continue letting your mind wander toward whatever thoughts occur. It’s important to practice this method so that thoughts are allowed to occur without causing prolonged stress on each issue the mind races through on a daily basis. By observing thoughts and ordering them into a structured storage of memories, you can relax the mind and reduce stressful pressures and ease nervous tension build up in your body. It’s great for keeping muscles relaxed and lowering chance of illness.
Guided meditations are advisable for advanced methods beyond this basic introduction and longer periods of sitting meditations to reduce stress.
Reiki is a similar method of meditation but it is a more effective balance for the whole body as well as the mind. Reiki works by focusing the mind on a clear task and causes the practitioner to forget the turbulent and stressful way of thinking every day. To practice Reiki successfully, a beginner should attempt a meditation session first. Understanding Reiki is easy once you learn the Chakras. These are important energy centres on your body and symbolize pressure points that may cause stress, and are also tied to emotional states of the mind.
You can use the lotus position for channelling or a more comfortable position that’s easier for you. Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Begin by closing your eyes and visualizing the colour of each chakra as you progress. Always start at the base (sometimes called the root) and work up to the crown. Visualize each colour in turn and concentrate on each one for a minute.
As you visualize the chakra, imagine the colour of it’s energy flowing upward toward the next chakra point, gathering all the emotions and stress with it. Imagine the energy flow upward and slowly merge into the next colour. Visualize each colour and emotion of every chakra. Once you reach the crown, allow the energy, emotions and colours to flow effortlessly out of your crown and imagine violet light surrounding you as the stress and negativity leaves your thoughts. This causes a deep sense of relaxation and ease of mind. Before ending your session, close each of the chakras again by picturing the colour of each chakra and absorb the energy and colour in a reverse route back down to the base. Reiki can be done during a short break or lunch period, even at the office or at home and only needs 10 minutes a day.
Tension can build up to cause physical stress and tiredness which has a subtle weight on emotional distress. This often manifests itself in a physical form and causes muscles to ache and become strained, leading to exhaustion on a daily basis. A professional massage can ease tension and relax the mind reducing worry and stress. If you can’t get to the local health and spa centre, you can perform some limited massage practices on yourself or have a partner skilled in massage assist you. Of course, not everyone is limber even to give themselves a back massage, but tension can usually build up in the shoulder area. Gently massaging your own neck and shoulder for a few minutes each day can relieve some of the stress and relax the body. Gentle physical exercise can also help the lower back region to loosen up and reduce stress.
There are hundreds of herbal supplicants you can use in many ways to reduce stress and relax after a tiring day. Although these methods can be very helpful they should never replace professional medical care and it’s advised to also consult your doctor about any of these methods.
Tarragon is a herb you can ingest safely by steeping it in a cup of tea for one to two minutes. The art of making tea dates back many centuries and this act in itself is a relaxing ritual overlooked by many. The energy given into preparing a cup of tea soothes and relaxes the recipient, and this can be done in less than 10 minutes each day. St John’s Wort and Chamomile also work effectively in tea.
Herbal oils combined with bath salts have very relaxing effects on both physical and mental health. If you only have 10 minutes to spare, prepare a hot bath while busy with other tasks. Add Epsom salts to a filled bathtub of very hot water. To this, add 5 drops of lavender oil combined with 5 ounce of carrier oil (either sunflower or olive oil works) dispersed evenly throughout the bath. Soak in the bath for 10 minutes and breath in the aromas deeply. This works best for nervous tension, worry, and tiredness. Alternatively, 5 drops of peppermint oil can be used for mental exhaustion and stress reduction for improved health.
Ex-pats or visitors in the Budapest region can enjoy a visit to Gellert Baths where a range of health and beauty services are available in addition to massage treatment and thermal baths, including some of the ways to reduce stress listed above.
How do you deal with stress every day? Do you have any useful tips? Leave a comment and share your advice on ways to reduce stress below.