Chances are you have felt a little stressed recently. If you are feeling calm as a cucumber, feel free to skip through this post. If not, keep reading.
We tend to think stress as a thing that lives in our head, but it’s not. It runs through our body and causes tension, irritability, and even fatigue. It would be nice if we could truly just think our way out of stress, but that’s not how it works. If you want to manage your stress, you have to manage your body.
There are a ton of ways to manage your body’s reaction to stress and decrease tension and today I want to share just one strategy that can help you feel more calm and connected.
It’s called a Body Scan.
This isn’t new, in fact if you do a quick search you will likely find numerous versions of how to do this. The most simplistic strategy I have found is to go through a few quick steps.
- Start with getting in a comfortable position (sitting or laying down)
- Take a few normal breaths in and out
- When you are ready, take a longer breath in through your nose then exhale through your mouth
- As you continue to breathe, notice how your head feels
- Continue to breath deeply and notice how your face, neck, and shoulders feel
- If you notice tension or anything remarkable during this time, simply notice it and continue to breathe
- The key is to simply notice without judgment (meaning that if you realize your shoulders are super tight, try to accept that without thinking about why they are tight or if something is wrong)
- Continue scanning your body as you notice your arms, your chest, and abdomen
- Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Notice how your thighs, knees, and calves feel
- Wrap up the exercise with noticing your ankles and your feet including your toes.
- Take a deep breath, wiggle your toes, smile and simply allow yourself to feel the calm.
- Notice how you feel.
That’s it. If you noticed even a slight shift in your mood or perspective, that means it was a successful strategy. If you didn’t notice any shift or maybe it caused an increase in stress, you may want to try it again or try another stress relief strategy.
Not every strategy works for everyone every time. In fact, the way stress impacts our bodies varies so much that it’s important to have a few strategies to try for different times. If you are looking for more calming ideas feel free to check back for more strategies and exercises to try and see what works the best for you.
Until then, wishing you a peaceful day.