16 Feb Simple but Powerful Practices to Change the Way You Handle Stress
Stress in small doses is good. It keeps us alert and motivated. But prolonged or continuous stress when it goes unchecked or uncontrolled it can cause severe health disorders and diseases. Simple but powerful practices to change the way you handle stress can make all the difference if followed properly in everyday life. Let us examine what are the common factors that can cause stress and how to deal with them successfully.
Most people complain they do not have enough time to complete so many things. The simple solution to these everlasting complains –Time Management. Learn to organise things better and allot time to each task. No one can accomplish too many things at one go. Break big tasks into smaller tasks and set the priority list a day before you go to sleep. Yoga as a way of life helps out with this problem. Yoga teaches detachment, and you learn to curtail unnecessary like and dislike about tasks and when you are performing daily activities. You experience less fatigue and have more time and energy to finish tasks.
Fast paced lifestyle Vs Yogic lifestyle-
Night-life and partying all night is a thing of the past. Fast foods and dining out use to be a craze but think about the price you are paying in terms of health. Body systems and immunity are affected, and ability to cope with stress is affected. Thus bad habits such as smoking and drinking are taken-up to calm the nerves.
Making small changes in everyday life and following Yogic lifestyle helps
- Sleep early and get up early
- Eating on time especially Breakfast (one of the most important meals of the day which we tend to ignore.) Include seasonal foods and fresh fruits in your daily diet. Opt for Sattvic diet. Chew your food properly.
- Quit smoking and drinking.
- Brisk walking early morning helps. Follow regular exercise schedule some of the basic Yogic exercises that can be done every day –
Simple but Powerful Practices to Change the Way You Handle Stress – Stretching Yoga Exercises or Sahajbhava Asanas
Often, due to a poor lifestyle, stress and neglect, one suffers pain and stiffness in the body (especially in the joints) which gradually reduces the flexibility of the body. This condition can be rectified by the practice of Sahajbhava Asanas on a regular basis. These techniques create awareness of the body, the breath and keep the mind attentive. The term ‘Sahaj’ here means to facilitate. Performance of these techniques facilitates the body and mind to be established in Sahajbhava–readiness.
Head and Neck:
- Gently, as you inhale, allow your head to drop towards your left shoulder without lifting the shoulder.
- Exhaling, bring it back to the centre.
- Drop it to the left shoulder, as above, and return to the centre.
- Inhaling, tilt the head backwards as far as possible without moving the shoulders or the body. Gaze upward and backwards at the ceiling.
- Exhaling, bring the head down towards the throat, tucking the chin into the throat cavity.
- Inhaling, return to the centre.
- Keep the hands by the sides. Inhaling, lift the shoulders as high up as possible, towards the ears, to form a “cup”.
- Exhaling, relax the shoulders.
- Keep the hands by the side.
- Practise shoulder rotations taking the rotation from the back, down while exhaling and then the front, upwards while inhaling.
- Clasp the hands in front of the chest; intertwining the fingers and palms facing the chest.
- Inhaling, stretch them outwards, parallel to the floor.
- Exhaling, bring them close to the chest.
Same as Variation 1, except that in step 2, while stretching the hands, turn the palms out, away from the chest.
- Raise both the arms in front, at shoulder level. Inhale.
- Exhaling, bend the elbows and touch the shoulder with fingers.
- Inhaling, straighten the arms again. Keep repeating few times
- Raise arms in front, at shoulder level.
- Close the fingers and rotate the fist–clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
- Raise the arms from the side, at shoulder level, palms facing down.
- Keeping the arms straight, flap the palms up and down.
- Stand straight, with feet 20-24 inches apart with hands on the waist.
- Gazing straight ahead, bend the trunk to the right, inhaling. Keep the hips and legs fixed, only curve the spine.
- Exhaling return to the centre.
- Repeat the above, to the left.
- Stand erect, gazing straight ahead.
- Tighten the knees and then relax it, alternately.
- Gazing straight ahead, balance the body on the left leg and bend the right knee, exhaling.
- Inhaling, bring it down to the floor.
- Now repeat, bending the left knee.
- Gazing straight ahead, balance the body on the left leg and lift the right leg up from the hips.
- Bend the right knee to keep the thigh parallel to the floor.
- Holding the right thigh up, point the toes outwards and then inwards, several times.
- Repeat for the left leg.
- Repeat the first two steps of variation1.
- Holding the right thigh up, rotate the right feet clockwise and anti-clockwise
- Repeat for the left leg.
Learn to delegate
The tendency to do numerous tasks at the expense of personal time is not a good idea. Take some time out for yourself to relax and do things you like. Learn to ask for help as and when required from your family and friends. Don’t stress over the judging part. Also, taking on many tasks at once means that you cannot get the work done and it will cause more stress and will compromise the quality of work.
Avoid pointless conflicts in the workplace and at home
While quarrels may not be avoidable every time, but use your common sense to prevent and steer clear of conflicts as much as possible. Avoid argumentative or confrontational mode; instead, try to find a solution that makes both parties happy.
Learn to ‘let go’ accept things and situations and people. Do not attempt to change them you will inevitably fail. Point is to changes yourself to adjust and cope with the situation and people around you. Try, try till you succeed.
Recreation and music in life is important
Failure to take time out for self-care causes stress big time. Personal time is a must every day to relax and rejuvenate the senses. Learn a new hobby, gardening, travelling, learn music or painting.
Inability to see the lighter side of life
You can get as creative as you want. See humour and joy in everyday living. When a beautiful and colourful flower blooms we naturally feel joyful and smile. When with family share a joke on a daily basis during dinner time. Diffuse tense subject by including light-hearted incidence from everyday life example- once when I was having a walk in the park while walking I was observing this German shepherd dog who was walking graciously, and a bunch of Pomeranian dogs were barking walking behind him. This was going on for some time after few minutes German Shepherd dog just gave a glance to the Pomeranian dogs and they all ran away in fright. (haha)
Laughter is a powerful antidote that suppresses stress hormones and benefits holistic health and bodily systems namely- the Central Nervous System (CNS) and Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)
Physical health benefits of laughter are many- Classical Yoga practices include gentle asana movements, kriyas, and Pranayama practices that activate, the diaphragmatic breathing which helps to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), or it triggers the “rest and digest” mechanisms of the body system. PNS activation reduces blood pressure and helps to slow down the heart rate and breathing rates. Additionally, blood flow is redirected to the digestive systems, the respiratory systems, the reproductive organs; the endocrine and lymphatic system are benefited. Apart from visible physical health benefits Yoga practices pioneered at The Yoga Institute like abstraction techniques like Nishpanda Bhava and meditation infuse mental calm and tranquillity.
Calm, gentle to moderate laughter is good for the heart and digestive system. Belly movements improve circulation of the blood to the abdominal region thereby given physical and mental benefits as explained above.
Start these simple but powerful practices to change the way you handle stress in everyday life. Learn Classical Yoga and enjoy the benefits of a stress-free life today.