I recently worked with a client who was getting extremely stressed over interactions with her boss. As her working day progressed, she would become more and more angry, to the point she wouldn't be able to switch off. She wasn't able to see the situation clearly.
Before we could work out how to change the relationship with her boss, I had to get her to a place of balance. I asked her to close her eyes and take three deep breaths. She was extremely angry and upset, so deep breaths only got her breathing again, it didn't calm her or her mind down, so I used a meditation that is short and designed to help you settle into your body.
Start by focusing on your toes and feel them relax, then move your way up the body, imagining each part of it relaxing until you have covered the whole body. Ensure you are breathing in and out each time you relax an area of the body. The meditation can take 3 - 10 minutes, depending on what is right for you. This is a great meditation when you are sitting in a chair, so great for the office.
My client was able to start to think clearly and we were able start working on changing the dynamics of the relationship with her boss.
Managing your stress throughout the day is important, as stress levels build. When you get to that overwhelm state, it's hard to be able to see situations clearly and you may end up reacting in a way that isn't normal. So here are so tools you can use throughout the day to manage your stress. I'd love to hear your thoughts about what you do during the day to manage your stress.
1. 30 second dance party - this has to be one of my favourites and something that I talk about with my clients all the time. Find a tune that gets your shoulders and body shaking, go somewhere you don't feel silly shaking your booty, bring a friend and a crazy hat (friend and crazy hat optional) and just dance madly for 30 seconds to that song. This one will definitely get you out of your head and make you laugh.
2. Three deeps breaths - this seems too simple, but sometimes it is the simplest tools that work. This is great for the early stages of stress, as we generally shallow breath. Take a deep breath, filling your lungs and then exhale slowly. Repeat twice.
If you are feel a little more stressed, try 4 - 7 -8. Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 7 and exhale for the count of 8. Repeat and notice the difference.
3. Focus on the stomach - take a couple of moments to do this. You can even do this at your desk with your eyes open. Breathe in, fill the stomach with air and focus your mind on your stomach as you breath comes in and out. Continue doing this for a minute or two.
4. Alternate nostril breathing - try this for a couple of minutes. This is also a great technique if you need to quieten the mind before starting your meditation. Start by resting your pointer finger and middle finger between your eyebrows. You are going to use your thumb and ring finger of the same hand to close your nostrils. Try it first to practice. When you feel comfortable, close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out. Now use your thumb to close one nostril and breathe slowly through the other nostril. Pause at the end of the breath and let the thumb go. On the next breath, use the ring finger to close the other nostril. Do this for 5 - 10 cycles.
5. Connect - sometimes connecting with someone is just what we need to reduce our stress meter. Human connection is powerful for healing. Sharing how you feel and why can be really therapeutic. It is important that if you are sharing with someone, it isn't just moaning, but instead the idea of sharing is about connecting, not just downloading your frustrations. And a hug at the end, is perfect to feel someone else cares.
Reducing your stress throughout the day means that you don't get to that explosive place, you can see the situation clearly.
Go to my free meditations to find a recording of the meditation above. It's about 6 minutes long.