3 Quick Fixes for Stress

There’s nothing quite like an election to cause additional stress to our already full lives. Make it a presidential election and the stress ratchets up. But rather than descending into a political discussion that will certainly be stressful, let’s talk about some simple ways to de-stress.

The Benefits of Laughter

Dr. William Fry, Assoc. Prof. of Clinical Psychology at Stanford University has studied the effects of laughter. He reports that laughing 100 times per day is the cardiovascular equivalent of ten minutes of rowing. We all recognize that exercise is a great stress reliever but you may not have thought of laugher as exercise.

Laughter exercises your heart as well as your circulatory and respiratory systems.  Laughter releases endorphins, deepens breathing and oxygenates the blood.  Recent studies show that even a smile release some endorphins. Find something that makes you laugh out loud and indulge often.

Here are two simple breathing exercises that will also help relieve stress. Remember, any time you alter your breathing, you alter your consciousness.

Breath Counting

If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice.

Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.

  • To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
  • Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.

Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”

Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation.
Source: Http://Drweil.com  

Purifying Breath

Deep breathing alters consciousness and relieves tension.  And, it can be practiced anywhere!  This exercise not only cleans your lungs, it also stimulates and tones up your entire breathing apparatus and refreshes your whole body.  Sit or stand up straight.

  • Inhale a complete natural breath (your tummy should expand slightly)
  • Hold this breath for a few seconds.
  • Exhale a little of the air with considerable force through a small hole between your lips as though you were blowing through a straw. Stop exhaling for a moment and then blow out a bit more air. Repeat this procedure until all the air is exhaled in small, forceful puffs.

Click here for a 15 minute guided meditation

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