How Can I Reduce Stress?
Allow, don’t force. Take your time. It is yours to take. Even ten minutes can expand into a full experience!
Step 1: Relax the muscles throughout your body
You may sit with feet on the floor, or lie on your back. If you think you may fall asleep, sitting may be a preferable position. Close your eyes, then visualize a warm, soft sensation moving up from your feet, rising up slowly through each part of your body. You may feel a softening of your muscles, a rippling or tingling sensation, or just a quieting of your body as it settles down.
Step 2: Establish a relaxed breathing pattern
Notice your breathing. Do not change it. Just notice. As you sit you may notice that your breathing slows and becomes deeper. The shallow breathing of stress or anxiety give way to a breath reaching all the way down to the abdomen. This type of breathing allows the waste products to discharge and that in turn allows healthy, oxygenated air to enter into our lungs. This type of breathing actually reduces the perception of stress, and reduces the production of the stress hormones!
Step 3: Focus your mind away from everyday or troublesome thoughts...
by replacing them with neutral or positive thoughts. It may be helpful to choose a word or phrase to repeat. As you repeat your word, or mantra, you leave less space for focusing on the past or worrying about the future. Choose your mantra wisely, and the depth and breadth of that word or phrase will expand and fill your mind. You may also focus on the rise and fall of your breath as well, repeating your word/s with each exhalation.
Shakti Gawain wrote beautifully about creative visualization: You may also create in your mind’s eye a place where you visited or vacationed that holds positive feelings for you. It may be a place you imagine, or wish to go to, but wherever it is, use your intuitive mind to create it in detail. Use all of your senses to fully experience the beauty and peace of that place, time, experience.
PRACTICING THE RELAXATION RESPONSE
I offer individualized relaxation tapes which you can play daily. Practice in this sense means that the more you do it the better you get at it! Each day you listen to the tape you move more quickly and effortlessly into a deep state of relaxation. With two to three weeks of daily use you will find that you are able to sleep more soundly, cope with life’s challenges more effectively and enjoy your life more fully!