October 8, 2005

Six-Minute Stress Busters
For the sometimes stressed, tired, wired or just worn out woman
Sometimes I feel stressed, tired, wired or just worn out despite my intentions to cultivate balance in my life. When I feel overwhelmed, hurried or out-of-sorts, I turn to one of my six-minute stress busters to help me regain my energy and feel more calm. They can be done almost anywhere at anytime, and take only minutes to do. I love to write and be outside, so my first response to stress would be to journal or to take a walk in nature.

What do you do when you experience stress or are worn out from life's challenges? Some women feel frustrated or a loss of control when stress arises, and respond by making poor choices that keep them stuck. Many women experience physical disturbances when stress peaks, and choose to ignore the signals the body is sending.

Have you ever considered taking a few moments to create some space just for you? Imagine a different response to stress — walking, writing, deep breathing, laughing, moving or stretching to help you reclaim your energy. Try one of my six-minute stress busters.

Six-Minute Stress Busters
  1. Walking or Walking Meditation
    If you sit a lot, get up and get out (preferably in nature). Get away from cell phones and people, and just walk. Walking Meditation is slow rhythmic walking, deep breathing and no talking (no cell phones, either). Listen to your body and what's going on around you, you can even count steps. If thoughts or distractions pop into your mind, just recognize them by saying "thinking", and get back to walking. It's okay to be alone.
  2. Journaling
    Write non-stop for six minutes or more. No need to worry about spelling or punctuation, just write. Don't analyze what you write, but be observant of the direction of your thoughts. This is an excellent way to put your thoughts on paper, and let go of past or future worries. After awhile, your journaling will be less about what's happened or going to happen, and focuses on your present state of being.
  3. Deep Breathing
    Lie on your back, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe deeply, slowly, rhythmically and relaxed, never forced. Be sure the belly expands as you breathe in, allowing your diaphragm to drop down as you pull air into the bottom of your lungs, and breathe out. Your mind will wander, thoughts will come into your mind, and acknowledge them by saying "thinking". Let the thoughts come in and out, and bring yourself back to the breath. You may even count the breaths to help you focus. In just three minutes (less than six), you will find yourself expanding, having deeper and more relaxed breathing, and feeling energized.
  4. Laugh
    Buy a joke book or Readers Digest, and keep it handy for those times you just need to laugh. For some good clean fun and an excellent stress buster, read the jokes out loud and laugh. Don't hold back, just let it go!
  5. Chi Gong
    Primordial Rock, a form of Chi Gong, is a slow circular movement, and slow breathing with your eyes closed. The faster you move the slower the Chi or energy moves; the slower your body moves, the faster the Chi moves. The goal is to slow your body and mind down by simply moving the body at a slower pace. This helps the blocked Chi to move through your body creating a sense of calmness and space.

  6. Primordial Rock — Start with the left foot forward, a 12-inch wooden stock between the palms (or no stick), body upright, eyes closed; tongue touching the roof of your mouth just behind the teeth, but not pressed against it. Breathe in and out through the nose starting from the diaphragm, the body rocks foward, shifting the weight to the front foot, the back leg is straight, as you move in a circular motion, bring the arms in front and up towards your body by "pulling in the Chi". Breathe in, then out as you move the stick down in front again, shift the weight to the back glut, extending the front leg straight and breathe out. Perform at least 20 repetitions on each foot (40 is better), as slow as possible, taking long deep breaths. Feel the energy move through your body, focus on the breath, and counting the movements. Let the mind and body relax. This will help release tension and really energize you.

  7. Stretching
    Stretching balances out the body and helps you avoid injuries that occur while performing everyday tasks. Find a quiet spot to stretch. Stand, sit or lie down, and focus on the tightest areas of your body. Avoid over-stretching the areas that don't need stretching. Stretching helps keep the body structure in place and helps you be more in-tune with your body. The body likes attentions too.
My experience has shown me that the more stressed I am, the more often I need to de-stress. When I take just six minutes to perform one of the stress busters, I feel better, am more calm, and have more energy. I feel good knowing I am taking care of myself.

For as long as it took you to read this article, you could have done one of the six, six-minute stress busters. The next time you feel stressed, tired, wired or just worn out, take action! Try one of the six-minute stress busters — journal, walk, breathe, laugh, rock or stretch your way to a more relaxed life. In just six minutes, you will be on your way to a more stress-free life!

To your lighter life,
Belen Carmichael, NLC
Life Coach

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Wellness Within is published monthly by Belen Carmichael of INNERGY Coaching, providing life coaching, nutrition and lifestyle coaching and personal training to women business owners.
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