We all have those moments.....and often they turn into days.....and weeks.....months......perhaps even years.......
We are facing a deadline.... or perhaps we are facing an illness. We are facing ourselves in the mirror and realizing that time is passing.... And suddenly we are gripped with fear. We can feel it begin to squeeze our muscles together.....our breath becomes short and perhaps our heart races.
Or it can be subtle.....We wake up in the morning with our jaw aching, and while brushing our teeth we become aware of the fact that we were clenching our jaw during our sleep. Or suddenly... while doing nothing more than walking down the street, we realize we have our hands clenched in a fist.... or we're wearing our shoulders like earmuffs.
We can toss it off as "just stress"..... or we can realize that stress can literally kill us - and then do something about it.
What to do? Here are 2 quick tips for you, which you can do anywhere without looking like a crazy person:
Bringing awareness to your breath is a great way to settle your mind - plus, since you're already an expert on how to breathe (you've been at it your whole life!), you feel comfortable doing this wherever and whenever you please.
Take a deep breath through your nose into your belly. You should feel your belly expand, like a balloon. (Don't worry - no one is looking!) From there, let the air fill your entire chest. Then let the air out through your mouth with an "Ahhhh" sound - like you're sighing. Do this 3-4 times. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This one can be done anywhere as well, but is probably more effective if you're at least sitting down, rather than standing.
Starting with your hands, take a deep breath in and clench the muscles of your hands. Then suddenly and quickly release them as you breathe out quickly, through your mouth.
Proceed to do this same clenching and releasing of your muscles as you work your way up your arms - forearms, biceps, shoulders, neck, face...... then down to your abdomen, buttocks, thighs, calves and finally to your feet - each time inhaling as you clench the muscle groups, and exhaling suddenly, completely and quickly as you release the muscles and allow them to relax.
Depending upon your situation, you might not be able to do all of the muscle groups. Do what you can. Notice how you feel at the end of this exercise.