Hump Day Life Hacks: 4 Hacks to Help You Beat Stress
Revolutionizing Wednesdays forever.
This time of year begins a ramp up of stress that takes us all the way into the holiday season. There may be a lot going on right now, but here are four life hacks that can help you keep stress at bay no matter where you are:
Yes, breathing does come naturally to most of us 🙂
But what I mean is that you should actively breathe – focus on the process and participate in it in a way that will help rejuvenate your spirit.
- Sit up with your spine straight and close your eyes.
- Think about the oxygen as clean, clear, cleansing air that will carry away any stress with it.
- Inhale with long slow deep breaths – picture your breath traveling thru your body sweeping away the sluggish feeling that stress brings
- Slowly exhale in small puffs – trying to exhale for ten little puffs before inhaling again.
- Repeat for approximately five minutes.
Bringing your deliberate conscious attention to your breathing will calm your mind naturally and help you be able to step into the remaining parts of your day with renewed energy.
2. Turn up the radio
Psychologists have long held the belief that listening to calm music (such as classical music) can decrease stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and slow the pulse.
I’m not sure about you but I’m not always in the mood for classical …
Good news is, there’s been a recent study done that showed that people who have depression, dementia and even autism and schizophrenia experience raised serotonin levels and experience an unprecedented reawakening when they were exposed to music from their generation. The US also did a study on Alzheimer’s patients and found nearly miraculous results in their cognitive and social functions.
I’m not sure that I needed a study to tell me that my mood is affected in a good way when songs from my generation (the 80s) come on the radio. I instantly crank up the radio and start singing along.
When you are stressed out, remember the studies, remember your emotions, remember the good times – by taking a time-out for tunes.
3. Take a mini-mental-vacation
Using visualization – or guided imagery – is tremendously helpful in finding stress relief.
This is in essence what Hump Day Holiday is built around – the idea that you can step away from your present moment and be somewhere else – even for a few moments.
And here is a hint: involve as many senses as possible in your vacation.
Don’t simply picture the place; add thoughts on things like:
- The smell of the air
- The feeling of the sun or the breezes across your skin
- The taste of whatever food or drink you would have there (skiing? Picture the hot cocoa at the lodge. On the beach? Maybe a pina colada with a little umbrella.)
- The sound of the environment (sea gulls, the ski lift, the birds, a babbling brook, etc)
So visualize a vacation …
4. Add a little perspective
Sometimes we become so stressed that we get a little short sighted. I personally have pulled a “Screaming Mimi” unnecessarily on many occasions simply because I was so overwhelmed by whatever was stressing me that I had lost sight of the bigger picture.
When you feel yourself slipping into an emotionally-charged state of stress, pause for a second and consider: will this matter in 5 hours, 5 days, 5 years, or 50 years from now? If you change your perspective, the entire problem often changes. Take for example,
- If you end up getting fast food for dinner for the third time this week because you lost track of time while you helped your child with their homework
- Don’t self-bash because “fast food is a bad habit and terrible example to set”
- DO: think about the time you spent showing your child that supporting them is a priority for you
- When you feel like your to-do list is never-ending, look back and take stock of how far you’ve already come and what you’ve accomplished so far. I found this tremendously helpful as summer was ending and I felt like I’d been lazy and maybe hadn’t accomplished all I’d wanted to – one glance back told me my perspective was way out of whack.
Seek the positive – seek the big picture – regain your perspective.
So there you have it. Your first Exalted Peacock Life Hack. Stress doesn’t have to be the monkey on your back. 🙂
I’d love to hear from you! What are some techniques that you have used successfully in the past to combat stress? How did they help you?