A trip to India was all it took for Victoria to realise that meditation is not a fancy word for sitting around in silence. It truly changed Victoria’s life to a less stressful and more mindful one. Now a freelance consultant and journalist, Victoria joined KOKO to share her knowledge on those little things that are life so much better, and cosier.+ info
How many times do we talk about stress? A lot. Stress is to blame for our headaches, or our stomach aches, or our low productivity, or our depression!
And yet, getting rid of stress can be really simple! Can you de-stress in as little as 5 minutes? Yes, you can. Try these quick techniques to lower your stress levels when you feel like you can't take it anymore. Imagine a day like this: a complicated weekend; an argument with your partner; the kids haven't stopped playing, yelling, or fighting for a second; the alarm hasn't gone off in the morning; and, on top of that, you're late for work without having eaten breakfast.
When you get to work you are exhausted and on top of that, there is a meeting with the bosses to see why Project X has not been completed yet. If this is the situation, here are some suggestions to help you overcome the stress
- Take a quick walk
Even if you only have five minutes, go for a walk. The goal is to get away from the immediate source of stress and to calm down, Walking is one of the best exercises to de-stress. A good walk can put the world in perspective and calm your nerves. So why not go for a walk today for 15-30 minutes? You don't need to feel like you have to get anywhere. A simple walk around the neighborhood, with an open mind focusing on your feet in contact with the ground, or the color of the trees, or the sound of the wind..
- Read fiction
If you are exhausted, sad, or stressed out by routine, one of the best ways to disconnect is to read a book. Fiction is ideal for disconnecting from our world because it allows us to forget everything that worries us during those 5-10 minutes that we concentrate on the story. According to a 2009 study carried out by the University of Sussex (UK), reading can reduce stress levels by 68%, even more than listening to music or going for a walk. Just 6 minutes of reading - be it a newspaper or a book - reduces heart rate and muscle tension.
It is said that one of the greatest addictions of human beings is "thinking". And when you start thinking, you don't stop. Normally, we spend a lot of time thinking about what takes us out of the present. We think about the past or the future: "what are we going to eat in a while", "what are we going to do when we get off work", these are thoughts that prevent us from enjoying the present moment.
Meditation allows us to free the mind from unproductive thoughts so that it can rest and recover. It's inevitable that during meditation, from time to time a thought will come to our mind. What we must do is not let that thought lead us to another one, and another one, and another one.
- Watch a movie or video
If you remember any funny videos, give yourself five minutes, and have a few laughs watching it. It will help you recharge your batteries so that when you return to work, or whatever is causing your stress, you do so with positivity and perspective. As lockdown allows, call a friend or family member to watch a movie together, but this time with a difference. Set a fixed time and choose at the moment which movie to watch, not before.
Many times what makes us happy in life is what we do not expect; the possibility of encountering something unforeseen. And movies are ideal for it. Before you go, identify your negative thoughts as "I don't have time for this" or "What if I can't find something I like?" They sap your enthusiasm for acting and discourage you from doing something that can nurture your life in an important way. Once you are watching the movie, forget about everything, and focus on it.
- Make a Herbal Tea
When we get tired of stress, drinking caffeine is not going to help. Instead, a hot cup of some herbal tea will. In addition, the tea-making process can be relaxing as it gets us up from the work table and focused on something physical. We cannot neglect the benefits that nature always makes available to us. There are very suitable medicinal herbs to reduce fatigue and promote relaxation. Knowing these plants is one more advantage that we can use to our advantage. However, let us not hesitate to consult with our doctor whether or not it is advisable to use certain natural proposals. In case we already take any medication, it is mandatory to have professional advice.
- Take slow, deep breaths
When we are stressed, we tend to breathe faster, filling our lungs less than usual. To remedy this, try to concentrate on your breathing (this can be linked to meditation) by trying to breathe with your stomach instead of your lungs. Breathe slowly and deeply until your lungs are full. Calming your body in this way will end the mental stress you feel immediately.
When you get nervous, anxious, or stressed, it's hard to remember why to stay calm. Taking just three minutes to breathe is created to work in two ways: First, it dissolves negative patterns before they gain control over your life. Second, it is an emergency meditation that helps focus you so that the spiral of thoughts does not get out of control. Your mind is likely to wander, it is natural. Just gently try to bring him back to that state of awareness.