Top 5 Tips to Fight Stress
1. Deep Breaths. Slow racing thoughts and relax knotted muscles by breathing deeply and slowly, at least ten times. Put one hand on your stomach. Make sure it rises with each breath. Avoid fast, shallow chest breaths that increase tension. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
2. Visualization. Picture your favorite place to relax. Beach? Woods? Hiking trail? Keep a picture in your office or on your refrigerator. Pause to feel, hear, and smell your special place. Be there and the next you visit your place of contentment, anchor more vivid images to access when your stress cycle begins to escalate.
3. Prioritize. Write down your top three priorities for the day. Put the rest aside. If possible, stop answering your phone or email for thirty minutes. Collect yourself. Focus. When priorities change, revise that note and write another with only three points. Don’t think too far ahead. Stay in the moment. Work on what’s in front of you.
4. Relaxing Music. Opt for slow classical pieces such as Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” or contemporary CDs such as George Winstons’ “Summer” or “Winter.” Slow your mind and even try to walk in that cadence. Move and swing your arms slightly, doing subtle shoulder rolls to loosen up before you take up the next project.
5. Positive Self-Talk. Don’t buy into “calamity conversations” and absorb the stress of others. Run positive messages through your mind. Use your voice. Say, “Of course I can handle this, all in good time.” Walk outside if work continues as the main topic at lunch. Think of something besides work as you walk: dinner with your friends or an event you plan on attending.