Practice Each Day to Keep Stress Away
Do you ever feel like jumping out of your skin at work because of juggling so many projects?
With the strained economy many in the workforce are expected to take on more responsibilities and excel at them. Plus some of us, like myself, have a day job and a business.
Research shows that job stress costs businesses $2 billion annually through absenteeism, deficient job performance, workman’s compensation, and tardiness. When self-care strategies are taught to and used by employees, HMO visits are reduced by 35 to 50 percent, a cost savings to both businesses and staff.
To release anxiety and physical tension and give you the energy you need to do your work, below are three exercises to get you there with only a few minutes of daily practice.
Centering the Mind: Becoming A Tree
This first exercise centers you in the midst of chaos, especially when it feels like all hell is breaking loose. Perhaps one or two employees have resigned and you’ve temporarily been given their duties, or a co-worker is having a meltdown. “Becoming A Tree” uses imagery to focus your mind in the here and now and release excess worry.
Imagine that an oak tree is two feet above your head. Slowly it enters your head, filling up your entire body.
Feel the tree gently permeate each of the following body parts, one at a time, allowing that part to feel like a massive tree trunk firmly anchored to the Earth:
- Entire body
Feel your concerns draining into the Earth, converting into positive energy that benefits you. When finished, notice your feet on the ground and how you feel.
Releasing Physical Tension Vacuum Cleaner
This exercise creates awareness of where you store tension and releases twists and knots in your body. Perhaps you’ve been sitting at your computer too long so that your shoulders are frozen in place or your lower back is tight. The Vacuum Cleaner practice uses imagery and progressive relaxation to loosen up your muscles.
Imagine or sense that you are standing or sitting in front of a vacuum cleaner. Once it turns on, feel the vacuum cleaner gently remove tension from your head and neck so they become long, loose and flexible.
Imagine the same for each of the following parts, one at a time—shoulders, arms, chest/upper back, lower back/belly, buttocks, legs, the space around your body.
Then imagine the vacuum cleaner floating into the sky and the universe converting into positive energy that benefits you.
When finished, feel your feet on the ground and your entire body being long, loose and flexible
Replenishing Your Body and Mind Soaking in the Essence of Calm
Now that you’ve focused in the moment and let go of excess tension, you will replenish yourself with a positive quality. You can pick whatever you’d like to feel more of such as calmness, neutrality, wisdom, peace, or clarity. In case you are having difficulty choosing one, the exercise below will focus on the quality of calmness.
Sense or imagine being in nature or another location that makes you feel safe and relaxed. As you sit or recline here, feel the quality of calmness gently hovering above your head as though it is held in a pitcher.
Feel the pitcher tip with calmness slowly pouring out filling you up from head to toe, one part at a time—head, shoulders, arms, chest/upper back, lower back/belly, buttocks, legs—including the space surrounding your body.
Afterwards, feel your feet on the ground and notice how you feel.
Tame Stress with Daily Practice
Use these exercises each day for a few minutes or stretch them into a full blown relaxation/meditation session of 20, 30 or 40 minutes. Daily practice -- even for just a few minutes a day -- will tame your stress by releasing physical tension and clearing your mind so you can be more productive on the job and less thrown off center by events around you.