Article: Tired of constant stress? 5 exercises that will now help you to go through life more relaxed
Tired of constant stress? 5 exercises that will now help you to go through life more relaxed
When was the last time you really enjoyed your coffee? Did you consciously notice the smell, feel the warmth on your hands, and just surrender to the taste?
With these exercises to combat stress, you can not only relax, but also become more aware of your surroundings and appreciate the little moments in life more again.
The thought “I don’t know how I’m going to manage everything” has now become a habit for many of us and we think we know we’ll never be able to cope with everything anyway. If you have just checked off two items on your to-do list, three new items are added. The feeling of never really being finished causes us to do the “unimportant” things that need to be done every day on the side. We want to get the laundry, tidying up, brushing our teeth and even eating over with as quickly as possible so that we can concentrate on more important things again.
Once we have a little bit of air, we sit on the couch in front of the TV or in front of our smartphone and let ourselves be overwhelmed by what is coming. However, this is not intended to be a socially critical “stop consuming so much” post, but rather a post that shows you that with a little more awareness and targeted attention you can escape the vicious circle of constant stress - without postponing or repressing our duties. Using a few tools and habits to become more aware of how we structure our days and learn to enjoy the whole process instead of constantly thinking about what's going on today can lead to long-term... Not only do we feel happier and more relaxed, but we are also more productive.
But how is that supposed to work?
The magic word here is mindfulness . Especially since the last two or three years, the term has been heard more and more often; It feels like it's being thrown at you everywhere now. If you're now thinking: "I can save myself such spiritual nonsense, it's just another trend anyway," I can reassure you in that that's probably the first thought of most people who come across this topic . I was also very skeptical and prejudiced at the beginning, but – spoiler alert – it is one of the things that has changed my life the most in the last few years.
So, what exactly is mindfulness and how can it make a difference in our lives?
Mindfulness comes from Buddhism; is already a very old practice that is slowly arriving in our modern, western world after around 2500 years. It aims at the “conscious, non-judgmental experience of the currently perceptible subjective experience”. That's all well and good, but what exactly does that mean? Mindfulness is something like the antithesis of the “autopilot mode” we so often find ourselves in. This means that we are aware of what we think, what we do and how we feel, but WITHOUT immediately evaluating our experiences. So we take a kind of observer's perspective and focus on the present moment, what is happening right now, here and now.
Mindfulness is understood as one's own “attitude to life”, but that doesn't mean that it's best to just sit on the bed all the time and observe your thoughts (it's a shame...). It simply means that you become a little more aware of why you do what you do and what is happening around you. I will tell you about the benefits and long-term effects of mindfulness in another blog entry soon.
First, I would like to show you 5 exercises to combat stress with which you can distance yourself from your spinning thoughts, relax within moments and get out of autopilot mode.
Exercises against stress and for more calm
1. Just take a deep breath
Sounds cliché, it is too. But it can help SO MUCH. Taking a few deep breaths in through the nose and exhaling through the mouth not only supplies our body with fresh oxygen, but also allows us to relax in a very short time. Breathing is the best tool for quickly returning to the present moment. As you breathe, consciously notice how your stomach rises as you breathe in and contracts as you breathe out.
2. The 54321 exercise
Personally, I love this exercise because it doesn't take long, it distracts and relaxes you a bit and it's even fun because you can do it again and again. No matter where you are, give it a try!
Take a deep breath in and out and then find your surroundings
5 things you can see
(e.g. table, coffee mug, window, jacket, headphones)
4 things you can feel
(e.g. forearm on my thigh, hair on my shoulders, chair back against my back, a slight stabbing headache)
3 things you can hear
(e.g. music from speakers, people's voices, typing noises on a keyboard)
2 things you can smell
(e.g. the smell of coffee, the perfume of the person next to me)
1 thing you can taste
(even if you don't eat or drink anything, you always have a taste in your mouth - just notice it)
You can also modify the exercise by consciously paying attention to what you can perceive through your senses, no matter what you are doing. What can you feel, see, smell and hear while you shower? While you're washing up? While you're on the way to work?
List three things you are grateful for right now. These can be general things like health, or having a roof over your head, or having running water. But also smaller things like gratitude that the little child smiled back at you earlier or that you can choose which song you want to hear next. It can be material things like your clothes or your smartphone, but also intangible things like your friends or gratitude that you can run. Gratitude helps you realign your focus on what is already there, instead of what you think you don't have or what isn't working right now. We all have so much to be grateful for, and remembering it every now and then will help you instantly get into a better mood.
4. Close your eyes, open your head
Close your eyes for a few moments and listen to yourself. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? How are you right now? If we concentrate on ourselves and our feelings and just notice what is happening for a moment, it often brings us clarity and helps us to connect more with ourselves again. It's not about only perceiving the most positive impressions possible - if you're not feeling well at the moment, then so be it. Just notice what is.
5. Let go!
Try to relax all your muscles little by little. We often tense muscles without even needing to. It makes us tense up and we signal to our body that there is tension where there shouldn't be any. For example, I often tense the muscles around my eyes for no reason and only notice it after a while. So do something good for your body by really letting go. Relax your shoulders, your face, your jaw, your legs, your stomach... You will quickly notice how good it feels.
These anti-stress exercises may seem insignificant at first glance; But they are in no way pointless. Since I've been doing these exercises and walking around more mindfully, I've noticed that I'm much more relaxed more often and don't immediately judge everything, but can also just notice what is happening before I act. So I can really only recommend that you give it a try.
Because you can actually only benefit from it - and you certainly can't go wrong.
If you would like to find out more about the topics of mindfulness, healthy eating or sustainability, take a look here over.
What are your favorite exercises to combat stress? Please let me know in the comments!