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10 Easy Relaxation Techniques For Immediate Stress Relief

10 Easy Relaxation Techniques For Immediate Stress Relief
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This list is here to help everyone dealing with stress and needing immediate relief. There are several easy things you can do to put your mind at ease and forget about everything.

1. Take a Walk

Whether it’s down the street, a hike, in a park, the beach, a lake, wherever you may go, this is a great way to relieve stress. Of course, it doesn’t help to go for a walk and think about your stress, but rather take in the nature, sounds, people, places and things around you. This will allow you to separate yourself from your stressful thoughts and get some fresh air. This can be done any time of year and in any weather condition. A walk in the rain is as effective as a walk in the sun.

2. Watch Something Funny

Whether it’s a funny movie, TV show, youtube video, Instagram video, whatever it may be, just watch it. I have watched some of the most ridiculous comedies to relieve stress and it helps so much. Some shows I recommend are: Impractical Jokers, The Office, New Girl, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, Friends, etc. You can even watch cartoons and relive some of your childhood memories all over again.

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3. Music

Browse your playlist, Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, old cd’s, youtube videos, etc. Music helps so much. Put on your headphones, close your eyes and just listen. Focus on the music, on your breathing and relax.

4. Sing

Along with listening to music, I encourage you to sing along to it. Put on your headphones and sing your heart out. Who cares how you sound, what matters is you are healing your mind and body of all the stressful toxins. Singing boosts happiness and lets you release emotions that are sometimes too stubborn to come out.

5. Read

The good thing about reading, especially if you have a big imagination like myself, is to have the ability to dive into the story as if you are in it. This approach helps to get your mind away from your stressful situation and temporarily bring you to another world.

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6. Coloring

This might sound ridiculous, but studies have actually shown that coloring is a major stress reliever. Think about all the times you have colored in coloring books while babysitting or with your sibling, your own child, in a classroom. Doesn’t it feel great?  They now sell coloring books for adults that you can buy in supermarkets, bookstores and of course online. So grab those markers and get to work.

7. Baking

The smells, the tastes, the ingredients, they all create this calmness that cannot be beat. Baking is a great way to relieve stress as well as comfort yourself with a little comfort food. I personally enjoy baking with some music and while you are using a spatula, why not use it as a microphone?

8. Religion

No matter what religion you have, practice it. Many studies have shown people who reach out to their faith become more peaceful on the inside and out. This is a way to sit, relax and meditate. Take as much time as you need to do this and put your strength into your prayers and watch them return with more clarification.

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9. Be Spontaneous

Sometimes we just have to do something without thinking about it. Whatever it may be, just go for it. Jump in your car and take a drive, go for a jog, go dancing, call your friends and plan something fun, visit family or stay home and play a board game.

10. Have a Me-Date

Sometimes all it takes is just a few hours for yourself. Coffee shops are great for this kind of occasion. Go to your favorite coffee shop, sit down, treat yourself and relax. Coffee shops give off such a relaxing vibe and this is a great way to calm your thoughts for a while as you take in that soothing aroma of coffee .

Always remember you are never alone and it is important to reach out to others for comfort. You can turn to anyone that makes you feel at ease after speaking with them…. now go do something relaxing!

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Featured photo credit: www.givingsong.org via givingsong.org

More by this author

Nicollete Izakovic

Candidate of International Relations

It’s Finals Season: Study Tips How to Ace a Job Interview….. Tips from an Interviewer’s Perspective. 10 Easy Relaxation Techniques For Immediate Stress Relief 12 Smart Hacks to Travel on a Budget Job Applications Got you Down? Tips and Tricks to Apply for That Role With Confidence

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Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly
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Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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