While it is important to identify and address the root causes of stress for long-term health and wellbeing, knowing how to manage stress levels daily can be very helpful in the short run.
Although this might seem obvious, it is worth reminding that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for anyone trying to manage their stress levels. As confirmed by a holistic therapist at Clinique La Prairie, this involves a balanced diet, staying hydrated, exercising, restful sleep and spending time in nature regularly.
Perhaps less well known is the power of visualisation and positive affirmations. Visualising and verbalising the great day that lies ahead can really help shift your attitude, helping you to embrace the reality of life with a more serene state of mind.
One of the simplest ways to address the body’s natural stress response is to use conscious breathing, also known as controlled breathing. As Clinique La Prairie’s breathing coach and Pranayama expert Phil Simha explains, “conscious breathing slows our heart and breathing rates, lowers blood pressure and clears the mind”. For those who wish to tap into this superpower, becoming familiar with abdominal breathing – the most relaxed way of breathing – is the first step. Inhaling deep into your stomach creates a balance between perfect oxygen supply and low pulse – a state of deep relaxation. The following practice is a great way to get started:
- Lay on a mat carefully unfolding the spine (with support under the knees in case of lumbar pain).
- Place a light weight (500 grams max) on your belly to help focus attention specifically on that area.
- Breathe (in the belly) consciously but with no effort: inhale slowly against the resistance of the weight, and then let the exhalation happen slowly while the weight presses down on the abdominal wall (the inhalation should be very slow and the exhalation 1,5 to 2 times longer than the inhalation).
- Inhaling through your nose, you feel the cool air entering and can imagine it spreading through your body. The same way the cool air entered, the same way the warm breath leaves the body.
- Visualise how regenerating oxygen enters the body with the inhale, while toxins exit the body and mind through the exhale.
- After 8-10 minutes, bring life back to feet and hands, then stretch with a deep inhale.
- Roll onto your right flank with legs bent, stay there for 1-2 minutes breathing in the belly, then open your eyes and slowly come back to a seated position.