by Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.
Are you stressed out, anxious, and irritated looking for some quick ways to effectively calm yourself down? Here are a few suggestions that I’ve repeatedly discovered help my patients as their psychotherapist:
- SMILE! Smiling actually releases endorphins and lifts your spirits and relaxes you.
- Look outside of yourself. This means look out a window, take a walk, focus on what’s around you and just as the smile releases endorphins, so does a shift in focus and brisk walk.
- Looking around you outside takes you out of what’s preoccupying you on your mind as well. Seeing new sights with focus builds new neurons as you learn something new.
- If you feel exhausted from worry, take a nap. To actually fall asleep concentrate on the feelings in your head rather than your thoughts. Or listen to a whirring fan or sound machine to shift your focus. Even a ten-minute power nap relaxes your body and puts your mind into a deep sleep that gives you a break from recurring worries.
- Try a “plank” exercise. Lie on your stomach with hands and forearms holding you up at the same time you are lifting yourself with your toes. Put a clock with a second hand next to you and see how many seconds you can hold yourself up. Your back is prone and straight. You will discover your focus is definitely on your body not your mind and as you strengthen your core, you actually relax. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before and collapse in seconds. In time, you will be amazed at how long you can last. It’s exhilarating and great exercise!
- Improve your balance. Standing tall, put one foot in front of the other so that the back of one foot touches the toes of the other. Take about ten steps forward if you can without losing your balance. Then do the same, walking backwards. If you last for less than ten steps, don’t be discouraged. In time with repetition, your balance will improve exponentially. Once again, you not only benefit from increased balance in your body, but in your mind as well as you focus on this exercise instead of your worries.
- Sing! What? You can’s sing well? Hey, no one’s
listening. Hum or sing the words to a happy tune and your endorphins will sing
with you as you lighten your spirit and find you are grinning as well!