I don’t know about you, but there are days when I could do with a break. Days when I have lots to do for work, the house is – yet again – a mess and the kids are not exactly helpful. Or any combination of the above.
Sometimes, you’re having a good day but then something happens and you find that your mood darkens and your stress level shoots up.
One of my yoga mentors reminded me at the end of last week of a very stark fact: we are all responsible for the way we feel. Yes, there might be a traffic jam, the kids might be fighting and you might be snowed under with work, but the way you react to that is entirely down to you.
Ouch! I find that hard to admit sometimes but I’m afraid, it’s true.
So with that in mind, what can we do to try and bring calm – back – into our life when we need it?
Sounds easy doesn’t it? Most of us take our breath for granted when it is actually one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to influence how we feel.
Take the time to take 2-3 deep breaths. Allow your abdominal muscles to extend as you breathe in. As you breathe out, imagine that you are letting go of tension, of tightness, of whatever negative feeling might be in your mind at that moment in time.
If you are interested in finding out more about the power of the breath and how you can use it to become the master of your emotions, look out for my online Breathing workshop on the 18th of July.
A good old shrug works so well to release tension and stress! Especially if you find that your shoulders and your neck have tensed up.
As you breathe in, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears. Hold them there for a bit and as you breathe out, release them with purpose, with a definite intention of letting go. It’s even better if you sigh out loud when you breathe it.
I tend to incorporate that in most of my yoga classes and it works a treat! It also makes me smile.
When you experience gratitude, negative emotions slowly fade away and leave you with a feeling that life is actually good.
Pick up an object that you have around you. It can be anything, it really doesn’t matter. Take a few moments to feel that object in the palm of your hand. Have a sense of gratitude for all the people who contributed to creating that object and allowing you to buy it: from the creator, to the producer, to the shop where you bought or the delivery company who brought it all the way to your door.
When you look at anything in that way, you can only feel gratitude for some aspects of your life – even if not for all – and it helps put whatever triggered your stress in perspective.
I am a great believer in the power of nature to help us stay centred. Personally, when I feel any kind of stress or negative emotion, stepping out in the garden makes me feel better straight away. If I feel really tense and that I have the time, I’ll go for a walk which never fails to help me come back to a sense of calm and let go of the tension I was feeling before.
So, if you can, the next time you feel tension or stress, try and get out in a garden. If you can, go for a walk and see how that works for you. While you are outside, why not compound the benefits and use this time to breathe deeply and give yourself a shrug!
I hope you’ll find these useful. Feel free to let me know if your comments.