How to Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes

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Stress. It’s a part of our every day life. It affects our health, robs us of peace, results in tense muscles, and causes headaches.

 

I was naive. I thought that once my children were grown and out of the house, I would have lots of time to do hobbies and relax. I’m not sure where I got that idea. No one I knew who was older than I was had a lifestyle like that.

It’s not my kids that give me stress. They are all married, have families, and are living their lives with their own types of stressors.

My stress comes from the usual places:

  • work
  • finances
  • relationships
  • car trouble
  • broken appliances
  • health issues

Looking at that list, I can see that it’s the same type of stress that has been with me my entire life. It’s not going away and honestly, a lot of these things will be with me until I’m 90+ years old (because I will live that long, I’ve already decided that).

What I need to figure out is how I’m going to respond to the

stress that will always be there.

I’m fortunate that I work for a huge employer that has a employee wellness program that includes reimbursement for “lifestyle management” services.

  • registered dietitian services
  • therapeutic massage therapy
  • licensed or certified acupuncture
  • biofeedback

Since I strive to live a holistic lifestyle, I take full advantage of this program.

Recently, I began seeing a biofeedback therapist. I have seen TREMENDOUS benefits from the tools she has taught me.  What I like about biofeedback is that it’s something I can do any time. Unlike massage or acupuncture, I don’t have to wait for an appointment to gain the benefit.

Biofeedback helps reduce stress

It incorporates deep breathing, muscle tensing and relaxation, and mindfulness. Each one can fit easily into your life and can be used to reduce the negative impact of stress on the body. Over the next few blogs, we’ll look at each one.

Deep breathing technique

It doesn’t sound like this could be too hard to master, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. You may not even have heard of diaphragmatic breathing. Check out this video for the right way to do it. As you practice, place an object such as a shoe on your chest and on your belly button as a way to visually see the difference.

 

Learning how to breath correctly for relaxation only gets you half-way there. The hardest part is remembering to do it!

That’s where I use my phone and an app called Breath+ Relaxation and Breath Training.

It allows me to set the length of an inhale and exhale as I watch the graphic go up and down on the screen.  I feel comfortable at 5 seconds in and out, but you can set what’s right for you. It also allows you to set a hold at the top of the inhale or bottom of the exhale, but I find that causes me tension so I leave that off.

The greatest advantage to this app is that I can set up to 4 reminders during the day so I can remember to do my breathing for 2 minutes each time.

  • 8:30 am – helps to calm myself after rushing to work
  • 12:00 pm – helps to slow down and relax before eating
  • 3:00 pm – helps to refocus on my health in the middle of the day
  • 8:00 pm – helps to wind down from a busy day

Benefits of deep breathing

Used regularly, diaphragmatic breathing will begin to change the way you deal with stress. You will enjoy the benefits of:

  • feeling more in control
  • lower heart rate
  • sense of calm
  • muscle relaxation

It gives you a tool that you can use when the situation rises into a frenzy. It allows a pause before speaking, giving your mind time to think.

Try something new. Incorporate this simple action into your life daily.  You will have to make a conscious effort at first, but soon you will find yourself taking in a deep breath and releasing the tension and stress.

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Kristy Klenk

Kristy Klenk has reached the 55 (and counting) birthday and finds this stage of life and aging an interesting adventure. Over the past 20 years she has been on a journey of living a holistic lifestyle and continues to research its positive effects on aging.

 

Disclaimer: Information found on this website or links to other websites are for informational purposes only and not intended for medical advice.  You know your body and your physical, emotional and mental situation. Consult your physician before making any changes.

 

 

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