We probably all know it; heart thumping, shallow breathing, muscles tensing and a foggy mind.
In some way, most of us have quite possibly experienced stress in our lives. Whether it’s the uncomfortable worry that keeps you awake at night or an acute form of anxiety, we all kind of know the feeling.
And for some of us times of high stress, like exams or job interviews, our mental health needs even more care than usual. We’ve asked around and found three useful tips that will help you clear your mind, focus and relax.
The air that you breathe.
A few minutes of deep, slow breathing can help you calm down physically and mentally.
- Breathe in for four seconds. Through your nose if possible.
- Hold your breath for two seconds.
- Breathe out for six seconds. Again though your nose if possible.
- Then take a quick moment to pause before starting back from step 1.
The body break.
Muscle tension is another physical occurrence that’s often associated with stress. One way to relief this is through Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). Relaxing our muscles puts our body in a state that’s incompatible with stress.
- Sit comfortably.
- Rest your feet flat on the floor and place your hands on your lap.
- Close your eyes.
- Start with the breathing exercise we described earlier for a couple of minutes.
- Tense each muscle group for five seconds before relaxing it for 10 seconds. Do this in the following order:
- Hands, lower arms, upper arms, shoulders.
- Neck, forehead and scalp, eyes, jaw.
- Stomach, back and buttock muscles.
- Thighs, calves, feet.
The here and now.
Grounding is a technique that helps you to stay in the moment. When you’re feeling like emotions such as stress or anxiety are taking over, grounding can help you focus on the here and now.
- Name five things you can see around you.
- Name four things you can feel (we mean sensations, such as your feet on the ground).
- Name three things you can hear in this moment.
- Name two things you can smell.
- Name one thing you like about yourself.