By Dr. Donna L. Hamilton, MD
Here’s a practical self-care tip: Make a wellness plan for the next time you find yourself caught up in life’s hustle and bustle. The plan doesn’t have to include you staying stressed out until you find time to unwind at home or slapping an annoying person. Adding these easy and effective stress management techniques to your personal wellness toolkit can help you leave the tension of each demanding moment behind you.
You can do these stress management techniques in most locations. When you get comfortable with them you’ll probably be able to do them in front of other people without them knowing it. Imagine yourself de-stressing during a tense meeting, while sitting in waiting room, or anywhere your schedule takes you. You’ll move forward through the rest of your day feeling calmer and more balanced. Best of all, you won’t feel like unloading all the frustration of the day on your loved ones when you get home.
Quick and easy stress buster #1: Deep breathing: This is the easiest form of relaxation. You can do it anywhere, any time. When you realize you’re feeling stressed or frazzled turn your attention to your breathing. You’ll probably realize you’ve been taking shallow, rapid breaths. You might have been holding your breath without realizing it.
Now inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for 4 counts. Exhale slowly through your mouth for another 4 counts. This will help your body shift into a calmer, more relaxed state. This technique “short circuits” your body’s fight or flight response.
Quick and easy stress buster #2: Affirmations: If you find your mind racing, worrying, or fixated on stressful thoughts switch to a positive affirmation. This helps relieve stress by interrupting the distressing thoughts creating tension. It also allows you to focus on something positive and empowering.
Keep the affirmation short, positive, and encouraging. Repeat a statement like, “I am able to handle this situation well,” “I am moving through life with ease,” or “This too shall pass” several times out loud or quietly to yourself until you start to feel more relaxed.
Quick and easy stress buster #3: Visualizations: Like affirmations, using your mind’s eye to create a calming scene also helps you shift your focus from the stressor to something soothing. This technique is kind of like a mini-meditation so you’re also likely to notice your body feeling more relaxed.
Take a couple of moments to consciously create images of something positive that also makes you feel good. It can be a relaxing location, an image of you successfully achieving a goal or of you looking and feeling incredibly healthy, calm, and peaceful. Let your imagination carry you where you need to go to release the stress you’re feeling.
Stress management on the go. It’s as easy as remembering to pause for wellness®.
© 2012 Donna L. Hamilton, MD
Holistic wellness speaker Dr. Donna L. Hamilton, MD, MS passionately teaches women what being healthy really means and how to do it in a way that fits their unique needs. She enthusiastically teaches a comprehensive approach to health and wellness that addresses mental, emotional, social, spiritual and physical well-being. Dr. Hamilton-a former board certified pediatrician-now specializes in health optimization. She retired her white coat and stethoscope and now speaks nationally about holistically improving health and well-being.
A wellness thought leader, she champions a comprehensive approach to health by addressing mental, emotional, social, spiritual & physical well-being with a simple and potent message. Her book Wellness Your Way offers a practical strategy to assist readers in creating a happier, healthier life. For more information or to book Dr. Hamilton for speaking engagements visit www.ManifestExcellence.com or www.DonnaHamiltonMD.com