Marquita Herald @ Emotionally Resilient Living – 31 Ways to Quickly Regain Inner Peace – 4-27-16
By Marquita Herald, Emotionally Resilient Living
Even when we know all the right things to do to manage the stress of this noisy, hectic world of ours, it’s natural for there to occasionally be times when even the most confident among us needs to sooth overwhelmed emotions, calm frayed nerves and regain inner peace. There are of course many ways to do this, but it helps to create a list of resources (think of it as your stress management toolkit) to have on hand for just when you need it most.
So, to complete our month-long focus on stress-awareness, I have compiled a list of activities, resources, and tools for you to use. This is longer than my usual post, but I believe you’ll find it worthwhile and if you like what you read, you’ll be happy to know you can download a copy (including relevant links) at the end.
Easy Ways to Quickly Regain Inner Peace
1.Breathe: Try this power breath, inhale for 4 seconds, and then imagine releasing your stressful feelings when you exhale for the following 6 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
2.Release Your Worries to the Universe: Visit the Quiet Place Project where you can type all your problems into The Thoughts Room and watch them disappear into the stars.
3.Write in a Journal: To reap the full benefits or journaling, go beyond the superficial by learning to use your journal for personal growth. It’s an invaluable tool to solve problems, get to know yourself better, clarify your thoughts and reduce stress by expressing your feelings – sadness, anger, and frustration.
4.Get Moving: It really doesn’t matter what you do here; just move out of your head and into your body for at least 5 minutes. Dance to your favorite song, jump up and down, do some head rolls or shoulder shrugs, move in a way that feels good to your body and your natural rhythm.
5.Do Nothing: Head over to the Do Nothing for 2 Minutes website and then just sit back – don’t touch your keyboard or anything else – listen to the waves and relax.
6.Express Your Gratitude: You may not feel like it when you’re stressed, but most people have way more to be grateful for than they realize. Making a habit of listing things you’re grateful for in your journal will give you a place to go for a quick reminder when you need it.
Tip: Typical advice recommends listing 5 things you are grateful for each day. I suggest you consider listing just one or two things and then 5 reasons you are grateful for each of them. What this does is force you to really focus and that generates more emotion and meaning.
Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
7.Release the Tension: Find some place where you can be completely alone for at least a couple of minutes – even if it’s sitting in your car – and give yourself the gift of a mini ‘bitch, moan, whine, scream’ session to vent and release tension.
8. Focus on Your Senses: Drip some lavender, tea tree, citrus or another essential oil into your palm and then rub your hands together, moving them back and forth 10 times. Cup your hands over your nose and mouth and breathe in deeply for five rounds of breath. The soothing scents will help send stress and anxiety packing by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions.
9.Meditate: Just 5 or 10 minutes will help to calm and re-center you. Try this easy 5 minute guided calming meditation.
Tip: Download one of the many free meditation apps for your Smartphone so you’re prepared for a mental health break, where ever you are, just when you need it most.
10.Do a Random Act of Kindness: There are so many simple ways to help others, but a few ideas include stopping to talk to a homeless person, offer to run an errand for a neighbor or relative who can’t get around easily, say thank you – and mean it, buy a small bunch of flowers the next time you’re at the grocery store and after you’ve checked out give them to the person in line behind you.
Tip: For many more ideas here’s a link to 101 Easy Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness.
11.Have a Good Cry: No really, it’s okay to cry! Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, anger, grief and frustration. For both men and women, tears are a sign of courage, strength, and authenticity.
12.Create a Feel-Good Collection: What TV shows are guaranteed to make you laugh? Are there songs that never fail to make you smile? For example, classic I Love Lucy is guaranteed to make me laugh, and my favorite music video is Uptown Funk with Bruno Mars. I have a small collection bookmarked and anytime I need a pick-me-up I take a break and treat myself.
13.Create a Zen Zone: Hiding in a bathroom stall or stretching out in the back seat of your car may not sound calming, but when you seriously need to shut out the world for a couple of minutes they’ll do. At home, there’s always a soothing bubble bath or you might think in terms of the “man cave” analogy and create an area with a comfortable place to sit or curl up, some incense or scented candles where you can disappear for a few minutes when you need some space. Top it off with an attractive sign you can hang on the door to let others know you’re on a mental health break.
14.Hang Out with Your Pet: Cuddling, and playing with our four legged family members is a proven way to help us feel happier and less stressed.
15.Get Some Sun: A boost of vitamin D can keep the blues at bay. Head outside for a brisk walk around the block, or just take off your shoes and walk barefoot in the grass, even better head to the beach and dig your toes in the sand.
16.Try Progressive Relaxation: Progressive relaxation involves tensing the muscles in one body part at a time to achieve a state of calm. Start with your toes and work your way up: tighten your foot muscles as much as you can, then relax them. Make your way up, tightening and relaxing each muscle until you’ve finished with your face. It may seem silly, but this practice can help reduce anxiety and stress.
17.Do Something Silly: Just go up to somebody on the street and say “You’re it!” and then run away. Okay, maybe not, but I figured it was time for an attention check, but you have to admit this would be pretty funny, and laughter is actually a terrific stress reliever! You can thank Ellen DeGeneres for this suggestion.
18.Give Yourself a Stress Relieving Hand Massage No time to run out and get a massage? No problem! Try this DIY hand massage for instant relaxation that calms a pounding heart
19.Unplug: Seriously, turn the phone off, walk away from the computer and give yourself a half hour of uninterrupted quiet time. For all the great benefits of modern technology, smartphones, in particular, are linked to increased stress, as more and more people feel pressure to respond to messages at all times.
20.Take Time to Enjoy a Soothing Drink: Head to your favorite coffee shop and treat yourself to a peppermint mocha, chai tea or some other warm drink, BUT instead of rushing off actually sit and savor every single sip.
21.Count Backward: When worries are running rampant, try slowly counting to 10 and then back again to calm down. It’s harder to focus on whatever is stressing you out when you’re busy remembering what number comes before seven.
22.Use Creative Visualization: A short visualization is an easy way to re-center. Even the National Institute for Health recognizes the power of “guided imagery” to elicit a relaxation response. Simply make yourself comfortable (at your desk, in an empty conference room, in your car, sitting on your back porch, wherever!) and then picture a peaceful scene for a couple of minutes.
Tip: To learn more, visit the McKinley Health Center’s Relaxation Exercises page complete with guided imagery exercises you can download for free in MP3 format.
23.Rub Your Feet Over a Golf Ball: You can get an impromptu relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball. Keep a golf ball or bottle under your desk so you can roll your feet on it when you feel stressed out. This not only soothes tense muscles but can also relieve mental and physical stress, fatigue and headaches
24.Squeeze a Stress Ball: On days when you want to strangle a co-worker, your neighbor, or the driver in the next lane, squeeze a stress ball instead. It’s an easy, portable, and non-violent way to relieve tension.
25.Drip Cold Water on Your Wrists: When stress hits, head for the bathroom and drop some cold water on your wrists and behind your earlobes. There are major arteries right underneath the skin, so cooling these areas can help calm the whole body.
26.Chew Gum: Chewing gum doesn’t just make your breath better — it can relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress.
If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are stressed, it will calm you.
27.Create a Tea-Time Ritual: Studies have shown that a cup of tea can reduce stress, not just by drinking it but also because of the calming effect of the ritual of making the tea. So instead of microwaving a cup of hot water, actually put a kettle on and create your own tea ritual. Try some chamomile tea, known for its calming properties. Or, sip an aromatic cup of antioxidant-filled green tea — it’s a wonderful way to take a few minutes for yourself, unwind and feel that you’re being kind to your body.
28.Do Something Creative: One of the reasons that clinical art therapy is so effective is that the act of drawing and creating art can help you relieve stress in several ways. There are many different options to explore, adult coloring books, paint (with or without brushes!), doodling, work with clay or learn to make origami.
29.Pray or say soothing mantras, chants or affirmations: If you are religious or spiritual you are likely already aware of the benefits of prayer. But there are many forms of expressing beliefs, hopes, and desires including mantras, chants, and even affirmations.
30.Massage Your Ears: An ear massage is a great way to release endorphins in your brain and make you feel good and it only takes a few minutes. Start by gently rubbing your earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Then squeeze the outer edges of your ears all the way to the top. These parts of your ears have tiny reflex points that can relax specific areas of your body. Finish by using your index fingers and middle fingers to massage behind the ears on the bony part of your skull.
31.Write and Burn: I saved my personal favorite for last! Grab a pen and a single sheet of paper and find a comfortable place to write. Set a timer or clock in front of you. This is important because you need to give yourself a full 8 to 10 minutes to get everything out of this exercise.
Now start writing and DUMP all your emotions on that page – anger, jealousy, sadness, whatever is creating turmoil in your life at the moment. When you reach the bottom of the page just go back to the top and keep writing over what you’ve already written because the point is to really feel that you are dumping all of your emotional energy INTO THE PAPER. Treat that piece of paper as though it has actually captured these harmful emotions that have been stored within you.
When you’re done, find a safe place, and with as much ceremony as you can muster, burn that sucker and send all of the negative energy back to the Universe!