I hear a resounding “no” although some silent heads nodding a “yes” too. Sometimes stress, actually, is good. It keeps us focused and pushes our limits. Agree that, right?! But, the real trouble starts when we allow stress to get heavy on us.
How Is Stress Turning Your Life Upside Down?
I don’t think we need to be a psychologist or some scholar to figure that out. It blurs our focus, dilutes our decision making skills, pollutes our vision, spoils our sleep pattern, disrupts our mental peace and the list can go on and on.
Anyway, the point to ponder is when stress is good, how it can actually help us and how to know if it is it getting too much to handle? Then answer lies in knowing the symptoms of stress.
It is important to remember that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to any kind of stress, just as there is no “one” particular reason for stress.
I Don’t Believe In Any Kind Of Relaxation Technique
The reason people say that is not because they haven’t tried them. They complain because it didn’t work the first time, or may be even after the second or third trial. So it led them to conclude that relaxation techniques do not work. It is because just like any other thing, dealing with stress requires knowing the right techniques and then learn them with sheer patience and continuous practice.
In order to learn to relax yourself and beat stress, we need to start address the fact that the stress in our life is real and therefore, requires the right devotion and effort to deal with it. According to various studies, stress contributes to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many more diseases. 
To be able to effectively manage stress, we should learn to address it our lives as real. Below, I’ve detailed the 7 tried & tested stress-relieving tips to help you relax yourself in less than 15 minutes.
How To Relax Yourself In Less Than 15 Minutes
1. Breathe It Out
Sounds like repetition? Great!! ‘Coz that’s what you should be doing now. Breathe IN. Breathe OUT. And Repeat!
The only difference you need to make is that you must breathe from your belly (Diaphragmatic breathing). Keep one hand on your chest and another on your belly. Now, try to breathe in a way that your hand on belly starts to move back and forth, in sync with your breath. This is breaking your usual breathing pattern.
Why does it work?
This takes us back to why we stress. Because we are not sure of the outcome, or because we are trying too hard to control it. So, when you focus on breathing, something which is happening Now, in Real Time; for few stolen moments, your mind forgets about the outcome. And…relaxes!
This is actually the least expensive and easiest way to relax yourself. So, try it anytime.
2. Progressive Relaxation
Anyone can point out if you are stressed just by looking at your face or body language. This is because when our mind works under stress, our muscles respond to it unconsciously. This stress translates itself in form of fidgeting, frowned brows, droopy eyes, slouchy posture and like. That’s the point where you need to learn the difference between tensed and relaxed muscles through progressive relaxation.
The technique works in reverse gear. First you build up stress on one part of your muscle, say for example, your forehead. Squeeze the muscles to create tension, try getting your brows meet forcefully. Make a Pug Face. Hold it for a breath. Now, release it to the normal happy forehead state. Do same for your other facial features. Continue doing it for every body part.
Constrict and relax!
It’ll take about 5-10 minutes for one go. So, do it before any meeting/interview, and come out smiling and victorious!
3. Head To Your “Zen” Zone
When nothing works, you should head to your “zen” zone. But, you’ll need to claim it first. It could be a place devoid of everything except a bean bag. For others, it could be just using an aroma candle, to fill up the space with calmness, and meditate  for a while. I have friends that call a bar as their zen zone where they chat and laugh with the ‘I-like-to-Nod’ Bartender and that is their therapy session. Women, on the other hand, go seeking solace in a manicure session.
So, find out what is nearest and relaxes you the most. What next? Plan frequent trips!
4. Organize/Clean Your Desk
Science of heat and molecules (Thermodynamics) talks of a term, ‘Entropy’, and I realized that it has great significance in our daily work lives as well. Concept of entropy says, the more number of molecules (particles) in an area increase the total energy or heat of that area. Similarly, when our desk is cluttered or even your computer desktop, stress molecules go haywire.
So, get rid of what’s adding on to your stress. Refrain from taking it quite literally, though. All I am asking you to do is, organize your desk. It’ll take your mind off of matter at hand, and after you’re done de-cluttering, you’ll be able to think clearly.
A tip to stay organized: Tag your stuff and task with Hot, Medium and Cold markers. That way, you’ll know what is your next priority, without wasting much time and effort.
5. Get Crazy
This time I mean this in a quite literal sense. Do some mindless activity. Paint, cook, shop, punch, curse or just take an elevator to roof top and shout your stress off. You can even dance crazy frog style in elevator. Whatever you do, just don’t plan on doing it. The moment you realize stress tightening its grip, go crazy! Sounds crazy??
6. Write It Down
When I suggested this to my friend, she bluntly replied, ‘Lame!’. It took a few swears on friendship to make her sit and do this. She started out confused as to what to write but, as she went deeper into the details, her pen gained speed. And by the time she finished doing it, a funny ‘relaxed’ expression took over her face.
Quite impressed, she suggested this as a final step: Crush the paper into a ball, and squeeze it with your shoe. Nice and Flat. I have to say, it made quite a ‘cheerful’ addition.
7. Talk To Stress
Woah! Like how??
Easy. Just like the way you plaster your boss’ picture onto your dart board and play!
You can also create a mental picture of your stress or even doodle a little about it. Assume it to have some particular shape, size and mass. Modify it. Give it details. Finally, try to talk-shrink it. So much so, that it reduces to size of a pin point. This is actually part of a process termed as NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is being used for stress and mental well-being nowadays. Seems difficult?? It only ‘seems’ that way. If you try, you’ll actually be able to do it. I mean, if I can, so can you.
As a final reminder, none of the above techniques will work without conviction and a commitment to practice. So, practice them often. And it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes so practice them in rotation whenever you’re too stressed out.
We live in a world that seemingly never sleeps, where people often struggle on a constant basis simply to survive and get by another day. Very often, we’re so caught up in our daily lives, that the idea of inner peace may seem elusive to us. And this is why many of us are constantly stressed out, even when there’s nothing to be stressed about in the first place.
Even in a world that seems so complicated, inner peace that lasts can still be achieved, and is now needed more than ever. It simply revolves around a few things: enjoyment, forgiveness, acceptance, slowing down, and faith.
How To Find Inner Peace Within Yourself
Sure. Your work might pay you a lot of money, but are you really enjoying it? While finding the job which offers the most salary is a practical thing to do in this day and age, it can be really hard to work quite well if your heart isn’t in it. In this case, don’t just go on whichever pays the most. Always follow your passion, and pick a career that you REALLY want. While you may face some challenges at first, especially in financial matters, just remember: If you love your job, you won’t feel like you’re working at all.
Also, it’s important to take some time off when given the chance. Spend a day-off or two to engage in your hobbies, like sports, or simply have some bonding time with either your family or friends. Also, don’t forget to schedule a vacation, and follow through with it. Spending time with your loved ones not only releases some stress and gives you inner peace, but it also re-energizes you to help you face the difficult challenges of your career ahead.
It’s normal for us to face the wrong end of a person from time to time, as you can’t really please everyone. But one should not forget the old saying…
To err is human. To forgive is divine.
Holding grudges against anyone for a very long period of time is one of the biggest barriers in achieving inner peace. That grudge of yours will only be deadweight for as long as you held on to it, and the uneasiness that it brings may even affect the people around you.
Forgiving the person who has wronged you may very well be one of the toughest things to do, depending on the severity of what the person has done, but when you forgive, you not only create inner peace for yourself, but you also bring inner peace to the person you’ve forgiven. The feeling will be like releasing a very heavy weight that’s been keeping you down, and allows plenty of good vibes to flow unto you.
Forgiveness doesn’t also apply to others. It also has to apply within yourself. Keep in mind that you’re only human, and you’re always bound to make mistakes in your life. So rather than constantly putting the blame on yourself (or others), learn to simply let it go. What’s done is done, and just take the necessary steps to ensure that it never happens again.
- Timon & Pumbaa, The Lion King -
Oftentimes, we worry too much on many things, including some that should not even be worried about. Much of that worrying is spent over some things that we have no control over.
Always keep in mind that sometimes, there are some things that we simply can’t change, no matter what we do, and all the worrying in the world won’t help. When facing such situations, it’s important to simply let it go, and let other people who CAN do something about it, solve that situation. Also, we tend worry about things that happen before or ahead of us. Why would you worry about your past shortcomings when it has happened already, and why would you worry too much about the future when it hasn’t even arrived yet? The bottom-line is, the past has already been done, the future still isn’t written yet, so simply focus on the present things at hand.
This lifts up a great deal of burden from your shoulders, contributing to your inner peace, and more importantly, clears your mind so you can focus on more important matters. You have enough worries for one day already, so why should you add more?
4. Slowing Down
Due to the fast-paced and complicated environment today, many people forget the importance of simply stopping right into their tracks and taking the time to appreciate the beauty of everything around us. With that being said, don’t always be in a hurry. Learn to appreciate the beauty of nature. You have all the time in the world, so always give yourself a break.
Maintain a healthy relationship with God. Whenever you’re in trouble, always maintain a strong faith that He is in control, and that He won’t give you any trials that you can’t handle. Don’t forget to spend some time to pray. Prayer is one of the ultimate means of meditation, and helps you establish a stronger connection to God so that He can give you strength that you need.
Having a strong faith in Him makes you feel at ease, and confident that no matter how many trials that you encounter during your lifetime, you’ll be able to overcome them.
“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” ~Billy Wilder
I call these relationships toxic because our authentic self is withered away into someone or something else—forgetting all that was natural to you in the process.
Little do we know that our desire to be agreeable and accepted is inhibiting the natural process of growth.
While some difficult relationships can open our eyes to new perspectives and expand our awareness, some obviously shut us in and hinder our development. Our intuition will alert us one way or the other. It tells us, change and growth should feel good!
It’s important to know when you’re in a toxic relationship so you can choose something better for yourself.
When I was in my toxic relationships, I ignored my intuition in favor of my logical mind, which told me that losing that person was worse than having him/her around.
But our intuition knows best; unlike our mind, its only motive is our happiness.
5 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship
“Toxic” doesn’t only entail obvious damage like physical abuse, stealing, or name-calling. It also represents all the internal turmoil that results from an unhealthy relationship. I’d like to share how I learned to recognize when I was in a relationship that was not suitable for me.
These are 5 signs that you are in a typical toxic relationship:
1. It seems like you can’t do anything right.
The other person constantly puts you down as not good enough. They mock your personality, and you feel ashamed most of the time. You only feel pardoned when you take on the traits of the person doing the condemning or judging.
2.Everything is about them and hardly ever about you.
You have feelings, too, but the other person won’t always take time to hear them deeply.You’re unable to have a genuine two-sided conversation where your opinion is heard, considered and respected. Instead of acknowledging your feelings 100%, they find a way to turn it around and make it about themselves. It seems these people particularly value having the final say.
3. You find yourself unable to fully enjoy good moments with this person.
Every day brings another challenge. It seems as though they are always raising gripes about you or someone around you. Their attempt to control your behavior is an attempt to control your happiness and sometimes ultimately to gain a deeper hold on your willpower.
4.You’re uncomfortable being yourself around that person.
You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You have to put on a different face just to be accepted by that person. You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore and may even find yourself saying and doing things you don’t fully agree with just so you can not create issues with this person.
5.You’re not allowed to grow and change.
Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, they keep you stuck in old judgments insisting that you may not be able to do things on your own or with success.
If you’re experiencing even just one of these signs, check in with yourself to see if the relationship is doing more damage than good. Evaluate the relationship and what it’s worth to you.
Embrace the answers that come from your intuition, as it wants the best for you—and this relationship might not be it.
Take deliberate action according to your gut feeling. You won’t be sorry.
Maybe you choose to talk about your feelings with the other person, or you decide to put more space between the two of you.
It’s important that if you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsettled in the relationship that you not wait around until the effects of the misery settle into depression. Taking any action is the best medicine.
There have been countless studies done on the health benefits of meditation, but this is the most prestigious meditation study to date done by the American Heart Association. and india The study shows that regular meditation twice a day was correlated with a 48% reduced rate of heart attack and stroke immediately. Blood pressure was reduced and anger decreased significantly among the meditation group. They also showed a trend towards reduced smoking.
“It appears that Transcendental Meditation is a technique that turns on the body’s own pharmacy – to repair and maintain itself.” said lead researcher Dr Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa. Dr Schneider added: “Transcendental Meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions.”
“The research on Transcendental Meditation and cardiovascular disease is established well enough that doctors may safely and routinely prescribe stress reduction for their patients with this easy to implement, standardised and practical programme.”
The study, which was funded by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute proved that simply meditating 20 minutes twice a day can cut your chances of sudden death, heart attack, and stroke in half immediately. What man-mad pill can do that?
“A selected mind–body intervention, the TM program, significantly reduced risk for mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in coronary heart disease patients. These changes were associated with lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors. Therefore, this practice may be clinically useful in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.“