By Brianna Siciliano
Stress can be caused by many situations, and can often lead to negative outcomes. Every person reacts to stress in a different way; some people react to stress primarily in physical sense (like hair loss or muscle tension), while others react primarily in an emotional sense (like depressing thoughts or panicked feelings). Stressful situations will not always be avoidable, but thankfully there are ways to relieve stress and get back to your normal, optimistic self.
A wonderful way to relieve stress is to meditate. To begin, sit or lay down in a comfortable position that you can remain in for a few minutes. Close your eyes and relax your body. Try not to be stiff, and at the same time, try not to slouch. Slowly inhale and exhale. As you continuously inhale and exhale, focus on the movement your abdomen and chest go through. Block out all thoughts, sounds, and feelings from your brain, especially thoughts and feelings of anxiety, frustration, sadness, and anger. Do not break the focus of your breathing; if you do, get right back to concentrating on your chest and abdomen. Each time you inhale, think about the word “peace,” and as you exhale think of the word “calm.” Try to drag out the word and it’s syllables to last for the entire time you inhale and exhale. In other words, peace will be more like p-e-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-e and calm will be more like c-a-a-a-a-l-m-m-m. Continue to do this until you feel relaxed.
Another great technique to relieve stress is to visualize. Visualize you are at a quiet, relaxing, peaceful place. If you have a happy place, visualize you are there. Close your eyes and vividly picture where you are––imagine what the place smells like, what you can hear, what you are touching, and what can see. If you find your happy place is being alone on a sunny day at the beach, for instance, spend some time exploring the hot sand and the cold water. Take in the soft sounds of the ocean waves whooshing and crashing. Put your bare feet under the cold water and feel the sand in between your toes. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Let the sun shine down on you. Enjoy this imagery. Stay in this happy place until you are relaxed and peaceful. When you are ready to come back to reality, slowly open your eyes and carry on with your day.
If you need a quick fix to relieve stress, take deep breathes. Close your eyes, inhale, and exhale. Repeat this for as long as you feel necessary. Sometimes you need to feel your chest rise and fall back into place to relax. If you have plenty of time and need to be relieved of your stress, getting a massage, doing yoga, or participating in tai chi are great techniques to experience. A day lived stress-free is much better than a day filled with anxiety and negativity. Make the most of your days and get rid of the unnecessary stress in your life