Quick and Easy Practices
During your day you encounter many stresses. Even small ones can add up and make you tense, anxious and irritable.
The stress you feel is a combination of what happens to you during the day, and how you react or respond to it.
Taking brief mental breaks throughout your day is a good way to get unstuck from that pattern. It gives you the chance to go from reacting to responding.
By interrupting your headlong rush through the day, you become more mindful of what’s going on with you.
These short pauses allow you to check in with yourself, reorient to where you are in your day, and give yourself a chance to re-frame or re-envision how you want the rest of your day to go.
They’re quick little mini-brakes that you use to relax, refresh, and replenish yourself.
All of these Quick and Easy Practices have been designed for use almost anywhere at any time.
Meditation, Relaxation and The Mind-Body Connection
This is what the NIH (National Institute of Health) has to say about the mind-body connection in their publication NIH Medline Plus.
Today, we accept that there is a powerful mind-body connection through which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect our health.
Mind-body medicine focuses on treatments that may promote health, including relaxation, hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation, yoga, and biofeedback.
There’s no denying that while your mind is worrying about an upcoming meeting or appointment, or rerunning the anger-filled situation from yesterday, your body is experiencing those emotions in the present.
And what you body experiences is reflected in tightened muscles, elevated blood pressure, and when you’re worried or anxious a surge of chemicals into your blood stream.
When you’re feeling stressed, angry or anxious, your body is going to reflect those emotions.
To get your body feeling better and more relaxed, you have to take conscious charge of what you’re thinking and feeling.
Meditation and relaxation done as regular practices can help you do that and so can these Quick and Easy (Q&E) Practices.
The Q&E Practices
“Time to Oasis” – Creating Your Oasis
In the middle of a dry, sandy desert is a beautiful oasis with cool clear water where you can relax, refresh and renew yourself.
This practice is about creating your own mental oasis whether you have a good imagination or can’t visualize worth a darn.
Your oasis is whatever you need it to be.
Use memories of happy, peaceful, and joyous moments to create your oasis, or find royalty-free pictures on the internet like this one:
If you’re having trouble bringing something to mind, don’t worry because there are several easy oasis techniques a bit further down
Entering Your Oasis
- Take a moment, close your eyes, and say this mantra softly to yourself, “Time to Oasis.” This will be the password or trigger that will have your mind ready to relax when you close your eyes.
- Think of your oasis picture or memory, and repeat the mantra.
- Take a deep, slow breath and let the peaceful, happy feelings wash over you.
This can be done in 10 seconds or less. The more time you spend with your oasis, the more refreshed your mind will feel, but just doing it for a moment or two still gives your mind a break.
Think of the times you can take a few moments to oasis.
How about after a phone call has ended? Keep holding the handset or cell phone to your ear and oasis then. Or when your coffee or tea is brewing or while you waiting on hold.
Here are three other ways to oasis that don’t require using a picture or memory:
- Take a sip. Use a cool (not hot) beverage. Say the mantra, “Time to Oasis,” take and release your breath, and then take a sip of what you’re drinking. Hold it in your mouth for a moment. Feel it bubble if it’s soda or champagne, and if it’s water, feel the soft coolness it. Swish it around your mouth and then swallow. If you can close your eyes, great, but if not, let them become softly unfocused. Repeat as you wish.
- Stare at something. Whether it’s a point on the wall, a pen on your desk, or something out the window, stare at it with relaxed eyes. Say the mantra, and take several deep breaths.
- Let your mind go blank. Do the mantra, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just relax.
Mantras and Grounding Techniques
Being present in the moment also means being grounded in your body, being aware of having and being a body. Below are three simple techniques from my 10 Tips to Outsmart Anxiety (Whatever the Situation). You can get your free copy here.
The mantra that’s used here is from a Buddhist practice called Loving Kindness. Though the full loving kindness practice can take hours to complete, this shortened version is still effective.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Victor Frankl
When you can be responsive rather than reactive, you get to choose how you want to handle your work, an interaction with someone, or even your own inner critic.
The Quick and Easy Practices give you a variety of ways to begin creating the space where you can make your choice.
By doing one or more of the Q&E practice six times or more each day, you reap great stress busting benefits throughout your day.
You also prepare the way for having those practices become a habit.
Use the Q&E Practices as a jumping off point for creating your own practices. Create your own mantras, and come up with other ways to ground yourself in your body.
The more you own the practices, the more you’ll use them, and the more you use them . . . well, you know how the rest of it goes.
Happy stress busting and space making!
You may also like the guided meditations on the Relaxation Meditation page which can help you develop your own Quick and Easy Practices.
To get your free copy of my 10 Tips to Outsmart Anxiety (Whatever the Situation) click here.