Sydney J. Harris
Maybe you are on vacation right now and are trying to relax and release the pressure and tension from a year of school or work. And maybe you are soon going back again.
So what can you do to increase your sense of centeredness and relaxation not only during these remaining weeks of summer but also during this fall?
Well, here are six tips that have worked well for me. I hope you'll find something useful.
Spend your time online in a very focused way.
One change I usually do during the summer is to minimize the time I spend online. I cut it down to the bare essentials. Basically that means I update the blog and send out new newsletters. And I check my email/Twitter/Facebook maybe once every other day. Of course, you may not have the option or want to make exactly those changes.
But you may want to try to cut down on your online time a bit. Maybe just check all the things you check online once a day. I have found that it makes me a lot more relaxed, focused on the most important things and leaves me with more time to use for other things.
Let go of what you “have to do”.
If you are feeling totally stressed out and wrapped up in everything you “have to do”, here is a good question:
“Will this matter in 5 years?”.
This is of course not an excuse for you to not do anything. But a reminder that the small things we get wrapped up in when we feel stressed are often not that important when you view it from a wider perspective.
In the end you can choose what you want to do and not do. There are of course consequences to everything that we do and that is something one must keep in mind. But I think it is very important to feel like you are in control of your own life to be able to stay centred and minimize stress and pressure. It’s important to choose what you want to do instead of always living in reaction and feeling controlled by outside forces all the time.
You may for example feel like you have all these things you “just have to do before the summer is over”. If such thoughts are stressing you out, you may want to choose to say no to some of those things.
And you might want to take a day where you take it easy and do pretty much nothing. It can do wonders.
Take 30 belly breaths.
This is one of the quickest and most consistent way to relax that I have found so far. It can be done anywhere and anytime. It’s great way to release pent up tension and to centre yourself in the present moment once again as you bring your focus to just the in- and out-breaths.
Here’s a simple instruction on what to do:
- Sit or stand up straight but in a relaxed way.
- Put your hands on your stomach. Using your stomach breathe in slowly through your nose. If you are doing it right your stomach will expand and you’ll feel it with your hands.
- Breathe out slowly through your nose.
- Breathe in and out 30 times. Take deep and slow breaths.
Act as you would like to feel.
Another simple tip you can use just about anywhere. Your emotions work backwards too. If you slow down then while walking, moving your body or talking you can often start to feel less stressed (compared to if you move/talk fast).
Slowing down to decrease stress goes for many other things you do in everyday life too like riding your bicycle, driving the car and eating.
Stop thinking the world revolves around you.
One great way to make your life unnecessarily hard and difficult is to assume that the world revolves around you. It can make you feel like you are trapped in a cage built out of social pressure. Not pleasant at all.
But is everyone watching everything you do? Thinking about you a lot and discussing what you said or did? Probably not. It’s very seductive to think they do because it makes you feel important and it gives you validation and attention. But they are probably spending their time worrying about their own challenges in life and what other people think about them.
It’s not easy to let go of the belief that the world revolves around you. But there are huge benefits such as decreased shyness and increased openness towards people and trying new things.
So you give up or decrease the importance you put on validation from the outside. And by doing so you can release a lot of pressure and stress and increase your own inner centeredness and freedom to feel that you can do what you want in life.
And as you do so you stop raising your self-esteem and increasing positive feelings about yourself through the validation people may give you (or at least you cut down on it a lot).
Instead you now raise the self-esteem and increase the positive feelings by doing more of what you think are the right things to do in life and by caring more about what you think and feel about yourself and how you are living your life.
Just accept how you feel right now.
Maybe you try out some of the tips above. And maybe they still can’t help you to shake that stress, inner pressure or whatever you are carrying around. I would then suggest just accepting that it is there. To tell yourself: “This is how I feel right now and I accept it”.
This may sound like you’re giving up. However, by accepting how you feel instead of resisting it you reduce the emotional energy that you are feeding into this conflict/problem. It then tends to just lose speed like a car that runs out of fuel. And oftentimes it becomes so weak after while that it just moves out of your inner focus and disappears.
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