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We are living in a time starved, stress filled world. There’s no secret there. Most people are dealing with stress from so many avenues including work, family, relationship, friends and more. It’s important to be able to mitigate the stress in your life. Some people love yoga, massage and workouts to help reduce stress. Vacations, weekend getaways and long walks are also great ways to help relax body + mind.
Many people don’t have hours, days or even weeks to devote to stress reduction. We’ve put together a list of three stress reduction techniques that take less than 10 minutes and aren’t complicated to do. These techniques could be done at your office desk, on your couch, laying in bed or anytime you have a few extra minutes to spare.
1. Equal Breathing: Equal breathing can be done anywhere by anyone. It’s best done before bed to relax but can be performed anytime during the day. In addition, breathing through the nose for the inhale and exhale is best. How To – Breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts. Repeat this for 1 minute to 5 minutes.
2. Progressive Muscular Relaxation: This stress reduction technique is also great for everyone and can be done almost anywhere. The technique involves contracting and releasing muscles to help your whole body relax. Try closing your eyes while you practice this technique to help you relax even more. How To – Begin with calm, slow and steady breathing and continue this breathing during Progressive Muscular Relaxation. Start at your toes and feet, squeezing them tight for just a few seconds and then release focusing on the relaxing feeling you experience when you release the contraction. Next, you’ll work your way up to the calves, thighs, gluts, hands, shoulders, neck, jaw and eyes. Repeat the process of contracting and tightening and then releasing after 2 – 3 seconds for each muscle group. Try inhaling or holding the breath during the contraction and exhaling when you relax the muscles. Make sure you don’t get dizzy. If you do, make sure not to hold your breath. This one may take a little more time than equal breathing but shouldn’t take you longer than just a few minutes. Feel free to repeat the process once or twice to totally relax.
3. 4 – 7 – 8 Breathing: This breathing technique is also easy. It’s geared for all levels and anyone who needs to relax for many reasons (situational stress, sleep issues, general stress reduction). How To – Breathe in for the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7 and exhale to the count of 8. Repeat 1 – 5 times.
Try taking baby steps to incorporate some of these techniques into your lifestyle. Choose one technique to try once or twice per week and gradually try to increase the amount of times you practice stress reduction each week. Have fun with it and don’t place limits on yourself. If all you can get in is two or three minutes, then do what you can do. You’ll benefit from some stress reduction and mind body relaxation versus none.