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How To Destress In 5 Minutes

How To Destress In 5 Minutes

In this post, we’ll take a look at an easy yet powerful form of meditation, that you can use to destress in a matter of minutes. What’s more, you don’t need any previous meditative experience; all it takes is an open mind and some motivation to practice.

You probably already know that meditation is physically and mentally calming, but it’s also emotionally soothing. That makes meditation most pleasant and revitalizing.

Before we get to the mediation, let’s examine the nature of stress first.

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What is Stress?

When the mind is speeding from one thought to the next like a jet, and the physical body feels intensely alive, that’s a common type of stress. So, is it a pleasant or unpleasant mental state? To answer that question, I suggest you tune in to your bodily sensations next time you are under stress. That way, you will know for yourself.

Stress is generally triggered by heavy workloads and tight schedules. For example, you have to cover for a colleague at the office who has called in sick, which doubles your workload. Another scenario would be a deadline that moved up.

Ultimately, thinking is the cause of stress. The sheer thought of a heavy workload or a tight schedule, can give rise to a sense of panic. With this knowledge, it’s quite easy to see that destressing is fundamentally about not thinking. In other words, the most effective way to relieve stress is by taking a break from thinking.

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How to Destress: Guided Meditation

Guided meditation does not involve thinking. Instead, you work with plain awareness. When you meditate, you give relaxed attention to your meditation object. That’s it!

The mind calms down the moment awareness takes the place of thinking. In this context awareness, attention, and mindfulness mean the same thing, they all point to a state of mind that is free from thought.

Guided meditation is one of the easiest meditation techniques available. What is more, it’s as fun as it is powerful. All you have to do is press play, close your eyes, and follow the voice instructions.

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Meditation downloads can be found by searching for guided meditation in any search engine.

Meditation Tips

  • Meditate in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. That makes it easier to relax and concentrate. It’s also a good idea to switch off the sound on your cell phone.
  • Meditate lying down on your back. It’s natural to relax the body while lying down. Remember that a relaxed body makes for a relaxed mind and vice versa, so make yourself as comfortable as possible. If there is nowhere to lie down, sitting on a chair will do just fine.
  • Meditating with your eyes closed makes it easier to stay focused. Moreover, darkness has a calming effect on the mind. So if you like, you can switch off the lights in the room.
  • Always give relaxed attention to your meditation object, trying too hard only increases physical and mental tension.
  • Meditate 1-2 times per day for a minimum of 5 minutes per session.
  • It’s better to do multiple 5-minute meditations with short breaks, than a long session. In the beginning, the mind quickly gets tired since it’s not used to giving its continuous attention for extended periods of time.
  • Meditate in the morning while you’re still in bed. That gives you a fresh start of the day. Likewise, you can improve the quality of your sleep by doing a session before going to bed at night.

A final note. The more you practice, the deeper the meditation takes you, making the destressing more effective. The soothing and calming effects also become more pronounced with experience. In short, you have everything to gain by establishing a regular meditation practice.

Good luck!

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Feel free to share your experiences of destressing in the comments…

Featured photo credit:  morning meditation via Shutterstock

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How To Destress In 5 Minutes

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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