Let’s De-Stress Right Now – Literally

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Relaxed, unstressed woman.

Let’s chill for a second… In just a few minutes, you’re going to feel much better. Enjoy this moment.

Take the time to read this article slowly. It’s a guide on how to destress; how to turn anxiety and procrastination into positive energy.

This is important stuff, especially if you are facing stress like many of the university and college students studying for exams.

You don’t need to think about anything else right now. Just focus on what you’re reading. Immerse yourself in this relaxing process of destressification.

Step 1 – Take Time Out to Think

You’re already on your way towards turning stress into success. Step 1 is to take time out to assess your situation.

By stopping to read this article carefully, you should already be turning down whatever stressors are in your life at the moment. They can be set aside. They are abstract and separate from your inner consciousness. All you need to concern yourself with right now is the stress-to-success process.

This is an important lesson. At any time when you feel stress building, you have the power to change your outlook in an instant.

Give yourself time and space to think – clearly – without pressure or distractions. It’s always worth investing time into personal reflection. Your problems can wait until you figure out a game plan.

Stress can be an indication of feeling powerless. You’ll feel empowered after you figure out the sensible thing to do next. Stopping to think is the start of the process. It’s like you assume a psychologist mindset instead of accepting the role of a sufferer or victim.

Step 2 – Choose a Problem to Solve

What’s something that’s causing you stress that you can solve? Start to think about it. What don’t you like – or what do you desire – where you can realistically influence things for the better?

It doesn’t have to be something big, though it certainly could be. It just has to be something that will meaningfully improve your situation.

The problem or goal could be as simple as doing a small job that you keep putting off.

It might be something bigger where you need to get the ball rolling.

Or it could be changing your approach a situation or how you respond to certain cues.

You already know what the problem to solve is, though you may need to give yourself some time to look within. What stressor is in your life that’s about the present and future – not the past – that you can take away through action? What problem do you want to start to solve?

Step 3 – Do Something Relaxing

This is the great part about the destressification process. You don’t have to do anything straight away. You only have to take action after you’ve come up with a problem and an initial step to solve it.

Do something relaxing in the meantime. If you have no time, maybe you’ll need to sleep on it. Other options are a long bath, listening to music, taking a walk, doing some exercise, or even tapping body parts. Do whatever relaxes you and allows you to mull over a problem, consciously or subconsciously.

While you’re relaxed, think about the solution to your situation. What do you want to achieve? And figure out the first step (or whole step if you can do it in one go).

Step 4 – Take Action

You’ll know when you’re ready to take action. It comes from seeing a problem worth solving or a goal worth achieving, and identifying the first step towards improvement.

Aim to initiate something substantial by tomorrow morning, if you can’t manage it today.

To be mentally prepared for change, picture (visualise) the end-state when you’ve improved your situation. How good will it be?

Getting what you want, and relieving stress long-term, starts with a first small step. When you’re clear about the goal and initial action, you’re ready. Take action and step forward into a more successful future.

Maintain a De-Stress Strategy

And if you start to feel stressed again? You know what to do. Read this article again or just follow the steps. Remember how to destress: time out; identify a problem; relax and imagine; and, when you’re ready, take action.

Knowing this process, or another technique that works well for you, should give you confidence. Stress doesn’t have to be a persistent, recurring feeling. Whenever you feel stress levels rising, there’s something meaningful you can do about it.

Relieve Stress with a Short Meditation Break

Meditation pose

Meditation has been shown to help fight high blood pressure, insomnia and the many aggravations of day-to-day life. The benefits of meditation can be enjoyed just about anywhere. Here's how to fast-forward to inner peace in as little as a minute or two.

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, and sit cross-legged on the floor. If you are at work, a straight-backed chair will do fine. Lying down to meditate is not recommended. If you lie down to meditate, there is a pretty good chance you will fall asleep.

Now, closing or half-closing your eyes, breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the air fill your lungs, all the way down to the diaphragm. Focus on the rising and falling of your abdomen. Most of us routinely take shallow breaths -- a few good deep ones should relax you and bring you fully into the present.

Imagine that your mind is a calm lake or a clear blue sky. Focus on that image. Continue to breathe deeply. Remain in the moment. From time to time, a random thought may enter your mind like a wave upon the water. Observe it for a moment -- without clinging to it, or disrupting your focus. Then, let it go. Every now and then, think about your breathing.

Stick with it, even though you may be frustrated at first. Eventually, you'll be able to meditate with your eyes open while washing the dishes, waiting to give a speech or stuck in traffic.

About the Author

Dr Andrew Lancaster is the founder and director of Unicurve.com