Are you doing a big presentation on two hours of sleep? Are you about to take a test that determines whether or not you graduate? No matter what stressful situation you may be facing, following are seven relaxation strategies that can help you unwind in two minutes or less:
1) Do a Quick Spot Meditation;
2) Watch a Movie Trailer;
3) Pretend You’re Acting in a Play;
4) Do a Quick Visualization;
5) Focus on the Breath;
6) Release Energy;
7) Roll Some Acupressure Balls.
Do a Quick Spot Meditation
How would moment-to-moment awareness feel? Having long been considered a powerful relaxation strategy, meditation has now been proven to lower blood pressure, anxiety levels, and depression symptoms. Think you don’t have time to meditate? According to meditation expert Eric Harrison, if you can breathe you can meditate. Reading “Flip the Switch: 40 Anytime, Anywhere Meditations in 5 Minutes or Less” is a great way to start meditating in short bursts.
Watch a Movie Trailer
What movie genre takes your mind off day-to-day worries? Is it action packed thrillers like “Casino Royale” or “Spiderman 3?” Romances like “An Affair to Remember” or “The Notebook?” Whatever your film of choice, watching a short trailer is a great to decompress in just a few minutes.
Pretend You’re Starring in the Role of a “Relaxed Person”
Are you up to feeling silly in order to be less stressed for a little while? I once asked a woman who always looked serene how she managed to seem composed all the time. She said, “some of it’s acting and you just kind of talk yourself into it.”
When tired, depressed, or anxious, rather than judging and perpetuating those mental states why not pretend you’re an actor performing in a commercial? For example, spend a couple minutes convincing yourself you’re playing the role of someone who relaxes by reading the tabloids in the grocery store line. Sure this “acting away stress” exercise can seem fake or silly, yet it often works.
Learn to Visualize
Can you visualize your happy place? Does it look like Strawberry Shortcake’s berry-covered dessert land? Is it outer space with star wars and meteorites shooting by? Is it a pastel colored kitchen where you can taste the molasses in that fresh bite of shoofly pie? Brain research indicates that thoughts are electrical impulses impacting our physical and mental makeup. If so, even a two minute positive visualization about eating a pizza-sized chocolate chip cookie can alleviate anxious thinking.
Focus on the Breath
Can you feel the changes in your breathing patterns when you’re nervous, excited, or relaxed? It’s no accident that many meditation practices use the breath as a focal point. Spending two minutes breathing regularly can help reset your nervous system no matter how stressed you feel.
Release Energy on Your Terms
Can you convince your brain it’s already vented about whatever’s bothering you? Some research indicates that the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between an event that’s happening in the physical world and an event that the mind is simply imagining. If so, perhaps you can psyche out your brain by visually releasing anger and tension without annoying or offending other people.
For instance, did someone cut you off in traffic today? Picture yourself stomping in rage and saying what you’d say if you had a chance to talk with that person. Pound a pillow, scream (as long as that won’t scare anyone), or even dance the anger away like Zorba the Greek. Spending two minutes processing difficult emotions privately in your own mind can ratchet down stress levels immensely.
Roll Some Acupressure Balls
Can you roll away stress? Traditional Chinese acupressure techniques facilitate mental and physical healing by placing pressure on certain acupuncture points in the body.
Using acupressure balls on your legs, back, or scalp for a couple minutes can feel incredible.
The web and world have produced thousands of stress relief techniques. Whether you relieve stress by juggling or meditating, learning to relax two minutes at a time can do wonders for your physical and emotional health.