Stress Relief – 4 Ways To Reduce Stress and Anxiety

What causes stress?

Think about bad experiences we make. Any traumatic experience does something with us and can lead to anxiety or PTSD.

Think about environmental factors such as a stressful job, an unhappy relationship or grief after the loss of someone important or a status. All of those factors do shape us and leave scars. The good news is, there is more than prevention in order to fight those changes in our lives. There are many ways to clean our minds and souls from negative energy.

Irrespective of how bad we feel and how terribly painful some situations feel we can handle any situatioin with a positive mind. The mind does not follow commandos and therefore there are tools to create a clear mind and to put things into perspective- reducing anxiety and feeling less stressed.

Stress management is not hocus-pocus. It is real and it is not only spiritual. In fact there is a lot of science behind it.

  1. MindfullnessMindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation and means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding.Mindfulness involves acceptance, paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. One reason scientists are so interested in mindfulness meditation is that it is a cognitive exercise. Scientists like cognitive exercises. Mindfulness meditation is the most scientific spiritual practice ever.
  2. Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy (Forest bathing)The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing. A forest bathing trip involves spending a short, leisurely time in a forest setting, for the purpose of absorbing the forest’s healing ambience. Key to the experience is the inhalation of wood essential oils,but visual, auditory, and other sensory stimuli are also important.Being in the presence of trees became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide (essential oils) seems to actually improve immune system function.
  3. Progressive muscle relaxation

    Progressive Muscle Relaxation teaches you how to relax your muscles through a two-step process. First of all , you systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, such as your neck and shoulders. Next, you release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them. This exercise will help you to lower your overall tension and stress levels, and help you relax when you are feeling anxious. There are many guidelines on the internet. This is an exercise you can easily do yourself.

  4. Yoga – based breathing
    Yoga-based breathing exercises can help those of us who can’t be inactive because of thoughts haunting them. Breath is the link between the mind and the body – each emotion has a distinct breathing pattern. It  leads to immediate results, slowing your heart rate in minutes, as opposed to mindfulness meditation, which has to be repeted frequently.
    Sudarshan kriya yoga (SKY) is a type of cyclical controlled breathing practice with roots in traditional yoga that provides relief for depression, and it is taught by the nonprofit Art of Living Foundation.

    The four main SKY breathing techniques are as follows:

    a) Ujjayi or “Victorious Breath”: This involves experiencing the conscious sensation of the breath touching the throat. This slow breath technique (2–4 breaths per minute) increases airway resistance during inspiration and expiration and controls airflow so that each phase of the breath cycle can be prolonged to an exact count. The subjective experience is physical and mental calmness with alertness.
    b) During Bhastrika or “Bellows Breath,” air is rapidly inhaled and forcefully exhaled at a rate of 30 breaths per minute. It causes excitation followed by calmness.
    c) “Om” is chanted three times with very prolonged expiration.
    d) Sudarshan Kriya which is a Sanskrit term meaning “proper vision by purifying action” is an advanced form of rhythmic, cyclical breathing with slow, medium, and fast cycles.

    (Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: Part II-clinical applications and guidelines. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11:711–7.)

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