Need a routine to help ease the stress of daily life? Learning how to control your mind can help keep the body in its relaxation response, even in environments that are less than peaceful. If you’ve got a few minutes, here’s a routine that can help clear your mind and reduce stress.
Find a quiet spot away from distraction. This could be outside in nature, with the door closed in your office at work, in your (parked) car or even in a quiet bathroom stall. Wherever you go, try to find somewhere away from the stimulus that is causing stress.
Notice how your body feels, especially if you’re holding tension in any unnecessary places such as the jaw, shoulders, forehead, etc. Inhale and, as you exhale, intentionally relax the parts of your body that are holding tensions. Notice how you feel after this breath.
Now focus on your breath as you inhale slowly at 25% of a full breath for a count of 4, hold the breath at the top of the inhale for a count of 4 and then exhale at 25% of your full breath for a count of 4. Repeat this intentional breath pattern 4 times, and notice how you feel after completing several rounds.
This practice is used by the Navy Seals to help them stay in control during any situation. Once you are able to regulate your breath with this practice in calm situations, you’ll be able to use it in the midst of stressful situations to calm yourself down before you feel stressed. That is the key to successfully mastering whatever life throws at you.