I’m sure you’ve all been there – hard day at work, you just want to unleash a flurry of expletives and bang your head against the steering wheel. It may be a natural reaction to a difficult situation. Sadly, whilst swearing and slamming might make you feel better in the short term it may cause other problems. In addition, this is not the ideal solution and does little to help you relax. Of course, the last thing you want to do is to take your frustrations out on loved ones or friends. So how can you help ensure that you switch off from your frustrations and don’t let a difficult day play on your mind or ruin your Christmas?
The answer could lie in some simple relaxation techniques. Relaxation is one of the most enduring and successful stress management strategies, with enormous benefits. Try the following while sitting with your back well supported and your eyes closed.
Focus on your body
- Slowly scan your body and relax all your muscles, starting with your feet and moving slowly up to your face muscles.
- Tell yourself to let go of the tension as you focus on each area of your body.
- When you have finished, think of yourself as relaxed and comfortable.
Focus on images
- Picture a calm, peaceful scene
- Imagine yourself sitting or lying on a beach feeling the warmth of the sun
- Think of yourself as completely relaxed and enjoy the sensation.
Sit comfortably in a quiet place, with your arms and legs uncrossed and breathe gently for a few minutes. Then choose a word that feels comfortable for you (e.g. relax, calm, peace, love, om, etc)
Silently repeat this word to anchor your mind. If your mind wanders, then gently bring it back to your chosen word and continue with this practise for 10-30 minutes. Open your eyes and stay seated for a few more minutes before engaging in activity
Choose a beautiful object like a flower arrangement, tranquil picture or site, lighted candle etc. Focus your attention on it steadily. Study the detail of the object, the colours, shapes, shades etc. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes, then close your eyes and visualise the object, its shape and features. This is especially good for improving your concentration.
Hansa Pankhania is a Fellow of the International Stress Management Association, a validated Stress Consultant/Trainer. She set up her company, AUM Consultancy, to raise awareness and ways of addressing stress using simple and natural techniques. Her unique philosophy integrates the best of western psychological theories and eastern healing traditions. To date she has worked with over 100 companies nationally.
More techniques in her book ‘from Stress to Success’ available at www.hansapbooks.com and on Amazon.