5 Ways to De-Stress in 5 Minutes

5 Ways to De-Stress in 5 Minutes
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Americans rank among the most stressed out people in the world. While a little stress of the inspirational type is not bad for us, since it can give us the strength and urgency to carry on, big stress can be acidifying, energy-draining, and paralytic. 

The difference between the constant, gnawing needling of the multitasking, compartmentalizing, worrisome, performance oriented voice in our heads and the little bit of occasional stress that the human brain was designed to handle, is that evolutionary stress was meant to help you survive. 

The constant stress we experience today, on the other hand, is slowly killing us, and certainly not allowing us to relax, release, and regenerate. If you find yourself grinding your teeth because you might be late to work, chewing your nails because your bank account over-drafted, or getting upset or angry when you’re stuck in traffic, your stressed-out neurocircuitry is stuck in pure survival mode, engaging reactions that we designed to help you escape from life-threatening danger. All of those reactions to daily activity is a misuse of the stress function.

When you consider how many micro-triggers are part of the Western ecosystem, it’s absolutely no wonder that Americans are riddled with weakened immunity, poor digestion, increased diabetes, low productivity, fatigue, high blood pressure, insomnia, obesity, heart disease, and more. 

And, chronic stress has also been linked to disintegration of the hippocampus and a malfunctioning prefrontal cortex, which makes you susceptible to depression and messes with your cognitive function.

Never fear, there are 5 easy and practical ways to de-stress in only five minutes, while you’re on the go and when you don’t have time.

De-stress with Mindful Breathing

One of the first things stress and anxiety affect is the breath — when you’re panicked, worried, or otherwise keyed up, the breath changes. It becomes shorter, shallower, clipped; reducing oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expression.

In those moments, remember to breathe mindfully.

Try this: Touch the place where the back of your top teeth meets the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Then, breathe out through your mouth so that your breath makes a whistling noise.

Touch your lips together and breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds. 

Hold for 6 seconds.

Exhale for 8.

Repeat.

De-stress by listening to Relaxing Music

There’s no right music — some people swear by ambient sounds, others by classical music, and others still prefer ASMR recordings (Autonomous sensory meridian response).

Soothing music has been shown to lower heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, and even stress hormones like cortisol.

If it calms you down, then it’s the right track.

If you can’t think of anything that calms you down, try exploring those avenues when you’re not panicking and that will help you be prepared for those stress attacks.

Stretch to de-stress

If you’re in the car, fine. At your desk? Fine. Making dinner and your family’s boiling your blood? Fine.

Step away if you can, and if you can’t, who cares? Reach your arms up as high as they’ll go. Reach them out to the sides as far as they’ll go. Rotate your wrists. Turn your ankles. Bend at the waist and dangle your arms to get them as close to your toes as you can.

Increasing the rate of circulation in your body improves brain function and oxygen distribution, powering up your body’s cells. 

Do a Body Scan

You can do this anywhere and from the comfort of your own brain space.

Start with your toes. Wiggle them all. Now wiggle each one individually.Good.

Move up to your ankles, then your calves, knees, thighs, and so on. Whenever you feel tension, stiffness, or pain, pause and breathe through it.

By the time you get to your head, your whole body will have been given this treatment, and you may even have forgotten you were stressed out in the first place.

Sing

If you’re somewhere you can make noise, sing as loud as you can. If you’re somewhere people may hear you, walk away a bit and sing softly, or hum. 

When you sing, your brain releases endorphins, the exercise-happy chemical, and oxytocin, the cuddle-happy chemical. 

Not only that, but it activates the vagus nerve, the part of your body that connects not only to your gut and your brain, but to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is where that fight-or-flight response is coming from in the first place.

Those five de-stressing activities are simply five you can do anywhere.

But there’s nothing wrong with brewing a cup of herbal tea if you can.

Heaving a sigh has been known to work wonders. Imagining a color, doing a couple of yoga poses, or remembering your favorite day have also been proven to quickly reduce stress.

Always remember, anywhere you go, find a way to sing, scan, stretch, listen to music, or deep breathe, and calm down in five minutes. 

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Momma Wolf is a Master Herbalist and Nutritionist with a Doctor of Raphaology Medicine degree from “Washitaw Wisdom College”, issued by the Tribal Nation of Washitaw, and a Doctoral Degree in Raphaology Medicine from the “United Nations University of Ancient Knowledge” awarded for the Curriculum she co-developed for the United Nation’s indigenous members. She is a Professor, published author, accomplished healing practitioner, supplement formulator, and sustainability activist with a global education and over 35 years of applied experience. Momma Wolf has a passion for organic farming, eco-villages, making soil with red worms, and loves sprouting, cheese making, animals, crystals, and being a grandmomma

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