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Stress Relief for the Modern Career

Stress relief in modern Career

Image by anton petukhov under CC BY 2.0

It seems these days that working hours are ever increasing and stress can seem to mount thick and fast, it’s important not to let it creep into other areas of our lives as the effects can be devastating on both health and relationships. Below we have put together 4 techniques to help relieve work induced stress and keep you motivated and productive.

Progressive Relaxation

A two-step process for deep muscle relaxation, progressive relaxation teaches you the techniques for relaxing all of the muscles in your body. Sometimes the stresses of our working lives can leave us feeling so tense that it’s easy to forget what relaxation actually feels like. During progressive relaxation you systematically tense specific groups of muscles, deliberately but gently for a short time (around 5 seconds) to the point where you may feel discomfort. To release the tension, you relax the muscles whilst exhaling, focusing on the new feelings of relaxation.

The after effects can ease the physical manifestation of stress such as sleeplessness and stomach-aches.

Exercise

Exercise is a form of physical stress so surely it can’t RELEIVE stress, right? Wrong – exercise can be an effective tool in the daily stress battle. Any form of physical activity from running, biking and yoga can serve to increase the level of endorphins that the body produces, leaving you with a feeling of euphoria.

The other benefits of exercise work collectively to reduce general stress and anxiety by deflecting your focus, improving sleep and increasing self-confidence.

Bath Meditation

We are all aware of the benefits of a soothing bath to float away the stress of the daily grind, relaxing tense muscles and providing a welcome escape. Bath meditation combines the benefits of meditation with the tranquil atmosphere a hot bath creates.

Begin with turning all electronics off, or on ‘do not disturb’, dim the lights and light some candles. Choose an aromatherapy scent such as lavender to aid your relaxation, and as you sit in the hot water slow you breathing, and breathe deeper, letting your stomach rise and fall with each breath, rather than your chest and shoulders, this kind of deep breathing turns off your stress response.

The key is to focus on the sensations and excise all other thoughts from your mind to clear your mind and feel at peace.  Eliminating stress with colour is extremely effective as we respond to colour on an unconscious level, so you may find that colour and bubbles can help to relax further during bath meditation and release any tension.

Plants

The use of indoor plants has been well documented in recent years, and with the issue of indoor air quality coming under the microscope, surrounding yourself with foliage could have numerous health benefits. Numerous studies, including those carried out by University of Vermont suggest that having plants indoors has an impact on the positivity of employee’s perception and disposition.

Supporting this, a UK study at the University of Surrey showed that plants actually eased the stress of the participants, by measuring metrics such as skin conductivity, blood pressure and heart rate.

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