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You wake up startled by the sirens sound. You look at your phone. It’s 7 a.m. Why the hell hasn’t the alarm sounded? Yes it rang, but you didn’t hear it. You jump out of bed and take a running bath. You just tied your tie to grab your thermos of coffee and run down the stairs. You get in the car and enter the Periférico traffic at 7.30 am. The Waze warns you that there is an accident that slows down traffic for 20 minutes …
This is the day to day for many of us, perhaps not every day, but surely more than one has identified with this first paragraph. The point is that when we become adults, our life becomes a problem solving and unexpected situations all the time. And things that are beyond our control, by default, create stress .
So, although surely you already know more than one trick to manage your bad moments, it is good to have all the possible tools to keep us focused on our goals. Here are five very simple exercises that science has shown work very well to control tension .
1. Learn to breathe to regulate yourself in any circumstance
Yes, breathe. Alan Watts , the Zen guru of the 1970s, said that much of the secret of a happy life is learning to breathe properly and laughing as much as possible. So let’s listen to Master Watts, now, right here at this very moment. Take a breath through your nose as deeply as you can (I’m waiting for you to start). Very well. Now exhale through your mouth as deeply as you can.
How’s it going? Hasn’t it worked and are you still the same? Repeat again inhaling again as deep as you can. Remember to blow air through your nose, exhale through your mouth, and repeat this sequence up to 10 times. What still doesn’t work? Keep repeating the exercise but now mentally count the seconds you use to inhale and exhale also counting.
2. Do you want to do the same and get less tired? Let your body relax
Stretch your arms back for a moment; Take a breath and then release it. Lean back in your chair for a moment, close your eyes and think of something that relaxes you (your last visit to the beach, your favorite song, the best party of your life with friends).
How’s it going? Better not? You can do this three times a day for 5 minutes each time and then go back to your business.
Stretch your arms back for a moment; take a breath and then let it go / Image: Depositphotos.com
3. Stop blaming your boss
It is done. We all know that your boss is not the best person in the world, you have told us a million times. Don’t you realize that every time you repeat your terrible story, your brain recreates it over and over again in great detail and you feel the same frustration and anger as the first time, you also generate more stress hormones than you then will you have to undo? Don’t you feel exhausted? Let’s see, one thing is to vent which is very necessary, quite another is to make criticism the center of your life. If you can’t stand your boss, quit your job, period. And if it’s not that bad, stop hurting yourself.
4. Get rid of people who drain your energy
Surely in all the self-help books you’ve read they tell you. I am going to repeat it to you because it is one of the things that weighs the most when it comes to generating stress that I call collateral. Relocate or remove from your life all those people who take away your enthusiasm, the desire to do things, who tell you that you can’t, who feel bad emotionally for you. And I say relocate because many times some of those people who make us feel bad are family or very close people that you cannot get rid of. But with those exceptions, if things don’t work, change the environment, it’s that simple. You are solely responsible for choosing the people around you and choosing those who bring you well-being and not tension. The point here is that you look for people who contribute to you and that you are capable of creating a personal core that recharges you, in which you can trust in your difficult moments. Those with a solid nearby nucleus have been shown to live longer and suffer less from stress.
5. Enjoy nature
“I just live in Mexico City”, “I just don’t have time.” Blah, blah, blah. It is clear.
If it is really impossible to take a walk around the field from time to time or go to a park to step on a bit of green, what you can do is create pleasant environments in the places where you spend most of your time. Talk to your co-worker who is a connoisseur of feng shui and ask him to organize your office a bit with some oriental touches.
Look online for a tutorial to give your house a more relaxed touch, put on relaxed music, take the television out of the room, pick up the house a little more so it does not look like a battlefield, talk to a decorator and repaint your office with pastel colors. Make your workplace a refuge that helps you relax, be calm and recover.
If you are able to do these five exercises daily for a month I guarantee that your stress levels will be dramatically reduced.