Author: Kristen Kennedy Smith
Managing stress, especially now, can be tough. We may notice that we are on edge without even knowing why. Over time, our bodies react physically the our mindset and mental state. When we are under pressure, stress, or anxiety for long periods of time this begins to show up in our physical bodies. This can look like tense muscles, shallow breathing, poor digestion, or even headaches and physical ailments.
I want to share with you 3 steps that you can do right now to manage your stress.
1. Try alternate nostril breathing
2. Take a break with a child's pose
3. Step into the present by noticing your 5 senses
These are techniques that will require no additional equipment, supplies, or tools.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is an ancient technique which is steeped in Ayurveda and Yogic tradition. Directing the breath, or Prana, across the brain helps to reset the central nervous system and relax the mind. When you breathe in through one side and exhale through the opposite side you may realize that your thoughts dissipate and you begin to step into the present moment. I like to relate this to the difference between having several tabs open in your mind versus having just one window open at a time.
To perform alternate nostril breathing simply place your thumb on your right nostril, inhale through your left nostril, hold the breath, place your ring finger on your left nostril, and exhale through the right nostril. Then you simply repeat the process by inhaling through the right nostril, holding the breath, placing your ring finger on your right nostril, and exhaling through the left nostril. To help you out, I created a short video to show you what I mean below.
This pose helps release stress and anxiety by creating a rooting, calming effect on the central nervous system. It also helps with digestion and is a wonderful way to stretch out the shoulders and hips. You can practice this pose from the floor, from a chair, or while you are in bed to make the pose accessible for you and your body type, joints, and goals. To enter into this pose from the floor you will follow this process:
I created some modification examples for you with the images below.
Notice Your 5 Senses
Finally, you can step into your five senses to relieve stress in the moment. This is something that you can do at work without looking silly or drawing attention. You can start by noticing 3 things that you see, then 3 things that you hear, 3 things that you can feel, 3 things you can taste, and 3 things you can smell. The final two may be more difficult, the process of really noticing what is around you in the present moment will help you shift the way you see things and will change your energy in real time. You will be in the present instead of feeling the emotions of the past or anxiety about the future. This is a technique you can come back to as often as you'd like throughout your day.
Interested in learning more tips and tricks? Check out my Old Souls Align Membership where I share exclusive content to help empower others to shift their mindset, their lifestyle, and the way they show up in the world with practical, actionable, and affirming resources and skills.
About the Editor: