Life can have its ups and downs, and twists and turns. With these ups and downs can come moments where we are consumed with stress and anxiety. Now, not all stress is bad such as eustress. Eustress is known as positive stress, in which stress motivates us. On the opposite side, is distress, which usually involves extensive levels of stress and anxiety or longer periods of feeling stressed.
When you are feeling distressed or have negative stress, there are specific exercises and activities you can partake in to try to reduce your stress levels.
Square breathing is a common breathing exercise that can help to calm your mind and slow your heart rate. Square breathing consists of four separate parts that last four seconds each. Following the shape of a square you are going to inhale, hold, exhale, and rest for four seconds.
According to research, this can assist you with slowing your breathing by helping you distract yourself. Counting during the exercise helps to direct your focus on counting to four. The benefits associated with this exercise include refocusing your mind, calming your nervous system, reducing your stress levels, and slowing your heart rate/breathing.
Another exercise that you can do to help destress, is finger tapping. Finger tapping, otherwise known as counting your fingers, can help to adjust your focus while calming you down. For this activity, all you have to do is press your thumb on each of your fingers and count to a specific number. The number could be curated to you specifically by counting the number of people in your family, your favorite places, the number of vacations you’ve been on, and so forth. You can also use each finger to remind you of things you love. A vacation you enjoyed, your favorite memory with a friend, the best day you’ve had, etc.
Pressing your thumb on each finger centers you by providing you with something tangible that you can feel. This exercise can assist you with pulling your attention to one particular thing and “bringing you back to Earth.”
One way I have found that has helped me to calm my nerves is pointing out shades of colors near me. This activity involves picking an object that is nearby you and describing each shade of color that is involved with the object. For example, you could choose to describe the colors of a lamp near you. Tan, white, yellow-gold, light brown, silver, and black.
This practice allows you to concentrate on describing the different shades of colors that you see. So, if I am stressed about a specific thing I can use this activity to take my mind off of my troubles for a moment.
Practicing de-stressing activities can help to lower your stress levels, calm your nervous system, control your breathing, and center your thoughts. Having an abundance of long periods of stress can cause wear and tear on the body mentally and physically. So, whether you are feeling stressed or just want to take time to relax, you can practice these exercises whenever and wherever you want.