It’s midweek and you’re back into the perpetual grind. Eating lunch while working, scrolling through emails and spending a large chunk of time attending to them, sitting in meetings jockeying for floor time, traveling to on-site work, getting exercise in when possible, and then rushing home to spend some time with your family.
It’s the rat race. Rush around. Squeeze as much into a day as possible. Maybe you’re running a bit behind or rushing to keep up.
Either way, stress begins to creep in. What do you do?
Take a deep breath.
Literally. When we feel stressed, our breathing shallows and speeds up. Taking a deep conscious breath sends a signal from the heart, via the vagus nerve, to the brainstem to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing your heart and decreasing blood pressure.
Furthermore, by continuing to put your attention on your breath, it’s difficult for your mind to bombard you and jam your energy from flowing.
Relax your entire body.
Drop your shoulders, relax the neck, jaw, and forehead. Move your attention to your feet and work up to the top of your head, relaxing each part…legs, stomach, hands, and chest. Tune into your heart beat, continue to breath deeply and slowly and practice letting go of all tension in your body. Let go. And then let go some more.
Open your heart.
See yourself from the perspective of someone who has shown you unconditional love at some point in life. Feel the love and hold onto it. Send that love to someone you also feel love for unconditionally…and then send it to someone you’re struggling with. Hold the person in your mind’s eye while you feel compassion for them.
These three steps can be done relatively quickly to relieve stress and overwhelm, but done over time and for longer periods, the ability to increase states of relaxation, focus and clarity strengthens.
What ways have been successful for you to manage stress?
What stops you most from taking time to relax?
What would be different for you if I knew how to manage stress more effectively?
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