Simple daily routines to improve your wellbeingAnandi - The Sleep Guru
Life is so stressful these days, there seems to be something going on every minute of the day with our attention pulled every which way. We get caught up in arguments on social media that have no bearing on our real lives, or we are bothered about silly little things at work, or we worry over the national debt. Usually, it’s not just one big thing that makes us feel stressed, but rather an accumulation of small, seemingly insignificant things, over a period of time. Stress is the curse of the modern age, and stress-related illnesses are on the rise.
So what can we do about it? Take more medication? Watch more TV shows about how to relax? Tell more people about just how stressed we are?
Well, no. None of those things is going to help us to feel less stressed and to be honest, even a long relaxing holiday or a spa retreat might not manage to relieve our stresses if we can’t help ourselves, first and foremost.
When we are stressed, our muscles tighten. Often without realising it, our shoulders slowly creep up around our ears. Perhaps we even clench our fists slightly, or tense the muscles in our legs. Do you ever realise, hang on, I’m clenching my jaw and I don’t know why? Sometimes we even hold our breath without really noticing we’re doing it. It’s easy to ignore things like this at the time, to grab a coffee or a chocolate bar, exclaim “gosh, I’m so stressed!” and carry on - but over time, you’re doing yourself no favours!
You don’t need that coffee, or the chocolate bar or whatever else you rely on to make you feel better. In fact, the one thing you definitely need that definitely works, is completely free and available to you any time, any place.
Deep breathing is the best way I know of to relieve stress, and all you need is a little concentration. Aside from helping with your hunched shoulders and clenched jaw, breathing deeply will also help to calm your mind and allow you to think more clearly and constructively.
Have a go at this simple practise:
- Find a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed, and sit with your spine straight - on a chair is fine.
- Close your eyes and seal your lips so that you are breathing in and out through your nose. Don’t try to change anything, just watch your breath going in and out.
- Really feel your breath coming in through your nose, down your windpipe and into your lungs. At the end of the journey, observe the tiny pause as your body prepares to exhale.
- As you exhale, really pay attention to your lungs emptying, the sensation of the breath leaving your body through your nose. Notice the feeling on your top lip as you breathe out.
- Observe the tiny pause as your body prepares for the next inhalation. As you inhale, imagine you are inhaling peace and energy. As you exhale, picture toxins, stored up negative emotions and pent up anger leave your body.
- Watch your breath like this for ten minutes. When you find your mind wandering - as it inevitably will - just gently bring it back to focusing on the breath.
This has been a guest blog post by Anandi, the Sleep Guru. For more information contact our wellness consultants on 020 7843 3597.