How To Keep Stress At Bay When There's No Time For A Break
By Liz Labrum
Taking exercise helps us get back in touch with reality, it grounds us and releases tension and feel-good endorphins. However tough deadlines don't always allow for a break from our desks so what can you do when you need to work at your maximum and keep your mind sharp?
When you are straining your brain over some task or problem the neurons of your brain function more intensely. As they do this, they build up toxic waste products that can cause foggy thinking. You know that feeling you get when your mind just seems to be like 'cotton wool'? Can you afford to operate like this?
At its very worst, not doing any form of exercise can lead to depression, neck and back problems and there is evidence that illnesses such as IBS either start with or are exacerbated by allowing tension to build up.
By exercising, you speed the flow of blood through your brain, moving these waste products faster. You also improve this blood flow so that even when you are not exercising, waste is eliminated more efficiently.
But of course you don't have the time to take exercise. Well you think you don't. But you could fool yourself into doing exercise regularly by sneaking it in to your life. Here's how.
If you are sitting at your desk now, take a deep breath in and let it out like a sigh. Feels better already, doesn't it?
Sit up and making sure your feet are flat on the floor, raise your arms straight up and join your hands together with your arms as near to your ears as possible. And stretch; really S-T-R-E-T-C-H. Release your arms now and relax. Repeat at least twice.
Swing your chair away from your desk, kick your shoes off. Start with a deep breath in, take your arms over your head, and slowly with a flat back, fold yourself over whilst exhaling and flop down with your arms dangling to the floor and just rest there. Your back will thank you and your brain will experience the benefits of blood and oxygen. (Pretend you're looking for a pen or something if you think everyone's looking, but chances are they're so involved with worries they won't notice.) Now come up and take a few more calming breaths. Repeat as you feel the need.
Body twists are good if you're feeling blue, anxious or fearful. (Explore yoga if you want more benefits.)
Sit on the edge of your chair with left side facing the back of the chair. Your feet and knees are together and need to stay that way throughout the pose. Place your hands on the back of the chair or as near to it as you can get. Keep your feet and knees together. Take a deep breath in, allow you shoulders to rest downwards as you do. Exhale and twist your upper body round to your left to look behind you and go as far as is comfortable. Keep your face aligned with your chest. When twist to the left push with your right hand and pull with your left. Repeat the other side.
Now I bet you're feeling better, feeling brighter and more 'up for it'? Are you not?
Having got a taste for exercise capitalise on it and start thinking how you can build more walking into your day. A walk at lunch time, walking up stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator, a walk around the office or to someone else's office. There are countless ways for you to do this. Act now, because as you do more you create the habit and your mind will present more opportunities for you to take an exercise break and you will find that you want to do longer, regular forms of exercise.
Speed Up Your Success By Slowing Down
And finally if like most people you always tend to be in a hurry, rushing from one place to another and not really spending much time sitting down and clearing your mind. You may find that when you have to perform, for example by giving a presentation, that you r mind goes into panic. Now, a good way to avoid this kind of response is just slow down a bit and think things through, visualising a positive outcome for yourself. You will find this very calming and a practical way to train your mind and body to give you what you want.
Here is a technique to get you on the fast track to success :
Simply take a long slow breath in through the nose, gently hold it for a count of four and then let the breath out as if sighing slowly. Try it now.....feel the difference it makes with just one breath. Now try two more and with each out breath say the word 'relax' to yourself. Notice how you can slow down, allow any thoughts to pass, imagine they are like clouds floating by on a windy summer's day.
Turn your attention to b-r-e-a-t-h-I-n-g... In... and... out.
Now how do you feel? How easy was that?
About The Author
Master NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist
Coaching the subconscious for conscious change.