When you’re at home, with soft music playing and perhaps the scent of incense in the air, it’s easy to relax. But what about when you’re waiting to see the dentist? Or in a long slow queue when you need to be elsewhere? Or if you’re about to face a tough interview? Those are the times when we most need to relax. But in the outside world we can’t very well take up the lotus position and start doing yoga breathing. So most of us just grit our teeth and carry on fretting.
Of course, wise people say the journey is the destination, and the interruption is the journey. But in some situations, those thoughts aren’t very consoling. So here are some quick and easy techniques that you can use to help you feel calmer and more relaxed when you need it most.
They are all things that you can safely do in the outside world and no-one around you will have any idea what you’re doing. But they may also start to feel better because of the good vibes that you’ll be generating around you.
1. Relax all the muscles in your hands, face and shoulders. It’s amazing how much tension we hold in those places, and how much it helps to let it go.
2. Find something pleasant to look at, and then focus on it. This could be a tree, a pot plant, the sky, a picture – even your own shoes if you like them!
3. Focus on feeling the floor or the ground under your feet.
4. Focus on everywhere your body is touching whatever you’re sitting or lying on.
5. Breathe in a slow, regular rhythm down to the bottom of your stomach. Let your abdomen gently rise and fall with each breath.
6. Listen to the sound of your breath.
7. Focus on simply listening to all the sounds around you.
If, after all that, you still can’t stop your mind worrying, get it to focus instead on:
A: Make a mental list of all the best things that have taken place recently. Include the smallest things because they’re also important – an enjoyable meal, for example.
B: Count your blessings – everything in your life that you’re glad of, from the biggest to the tiniest.
These are quick but powerful relaxation techniques that you can use anytime and anywhere. They’ll help you to relax in all kinds of stressful situations. And when you want to meditate or sleep, they can help you with that as well.
They’re simple, easy and don’t cost a bean. And they’ll make a big difference to your life!
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