You know you're stressed out, but you don't feel like you have the time to sit down and meditate. Besides, your mind is going a million miles an hour - so what's the point? You'd love to go to the gym, but that means getting into your car, fighting traffic, changing your clothes, and then needing a shower afterward. Waaaay too much time! You've got deadlines to meet.
So what can you do right now -- right where you are - to take the stress levels down? Here are 3 simple techniques that can use immediately to shift your energy from feeling scattered to feeling centered.
1. Gently close your lips, as though you were going to kiss someone, and hum. Try to direct the sound of your hum towards your spine, rather than outward into the room. Shift your tone up and down as you visualize your hum going up and down your spine. Do this for as long as you wish, but try to do it for at least 90 seconds.
2. Take a deep breath in, filling your belly with as much air as you can. Yes, it's OK to let your belly expand for this! When your belly is completely full, hold your breath for 4 seconds (one-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc.). If you are somewhere where you can make some noise, let your breath out with an audible "AHHHHHH!" If you cannot make that much noise, then just let your breath go as though you were sighing. Repeat this 3 times.
3. Take a deep breath into your belly. Using your stomach muscles as though they were bellows, forcibly expel the air through your nose, and then allow your breath to come back in naturally. Repeat this as rapidly as you can, concentrating on the exhale, pumping the air out and allowing it to fill your lungs naturally. Do this 20 times, then inhale deeply, hold your breath for the count of 8, and then let go and let the breath return to natural. Repeat this 3 times.
All of these little exercises will connect your mind, body and breath. When your mind is occupied with counting breaths or visualizing sound going up and down your spine, it cannot multitask. You will find yourself more grounded in the present moment -- and in this moment, there's nothing to stress out about, there's nothing to be anxious about, and there's nothing to regret.
I've been practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine for over 25 years, and this ancient wisdom never gets old. I love helping people feel better without the need for drugs or surgery.