If you’re dealing with mounting stress at work or at home, figuring out how to refocus and center yourself can seem like a daunting task. But you don’t need to set aside an appointment to find time for yourself. Just taking a couple minutes every day to practice mindfulness or meditation can go a long way for staying sane through it all. Try it!
Relax and Get Centered
Scientific studies have shown the powerful benefits of mindful meditation, a habit that can take only five minutes of your day and can be done just about anywhere.
For those new to the practice, apps like Headspace offer guided meditation sessions, customizable by duration and scenario. In each themed session—whether targeted towards managing stress, sleep, focus or anxiety—a calm voice provides users with step-by-step instructions. It might take time to practice, build the habit and get into the right mindset, but dedicating even just five minutes to clear your mind and stay present can work wonders.
Another useful trick for instant relaxation is doing a body scan. To do this, find a quiet place to lay down—a chair is fine, too, if you’re at the office. Focus your attention at the top of your head and then slowly move down the body, pausing at specific parts and alternating between a wide and narrow focus—from your whole foot to your little pinky toe. Linger throughout the body to focus on how a particular part feels and release the tension you’re carrying in limbs or muscles.
Learn an Acupressure Technique
Jin Shin Jyutsu is a finger exercising technique from Japan, believed to be about 1,500 years old. Practitioners of the simple acupressure technique say that applying manual pressure on specific points on the hands releases tension and stress.
According to the ancient practice, holding the thumb tightly for one to two minutes can alleviate worrying and nervousness. Holding the index finger tightly for one to two minutes is said to ease fear and muscle tension, and pressing your thumb at the center of the palm of your other hand is said to provide immediate stress relief.
These are simple techniques that can be done at your work desk, at home, or even while sitting in traffic while exhaling and inhaling deeply.
Smell Your Way to Calm
Our sense of smell can have a powerful impact on our mood, and depending on the smell, can conjure up memories, images or feelings.
In this vein, we are able to manipulate our minds and bodies into relaxation through specific scents and essences. Many people do this by diffusing essential oils in a room or dabbing a tiny amount on their inner wrists or behind their ears.
Lavender oil has long been shown to have chemical properties that promote calmness, ideal for nighttime use, right before bed. Blends of grapefruit, lime and peppermint can have an energizing effect on a person, perfect for hectic mornings while getting ready for the day ahead.