We all know we should take more steps to reduce stress and increase relaxation. But do you notice that you compound your stress by trying to find time to reduce your stress? Here’s an idea that will likely more time to read than to actually do!
The next time you’re sitting in your car waiting for a red light, here’s a quick stress relief technique that you can do for yourself in just that amount of time.
Before beginning, set the parking brake. (While this isn’t really a relaxation technique per se, it does help reduce the stress of worrying that your car may roll away!) You can also choose to turn off your radio or cell phone so as not to be interrupted in this time you’re gifting to yourself.
First, take your hands off of the steering wheel and rub them together vigorously for five to 10 seconds; this helps re-energize circulation and starts to soften tension. Then, let your hands rest in your lap, and notice your arms, shoulders, and upper back start to relax.
Let your eyes softly focus, perhaps on the signal light or on the hood of your car. Notice how nice it feels to give your eyes, forehead, jaw, and hands a break — this is when it’s great to have your phone turned off.
Now, take three to five easy breaths. These needn’t be big breaths; it’s just helpful to bring your attention to your breath. Notice how nice it feels to take air into your body.
Now, assuming you’ve set the parking brake, wiggle all your the toes and rotate both of your ankles. Really focus on feeling each individual toe move; this again helps bring warmth and circulation to your feet and lower legs.
Finally, rock your hips from side to side. This is not a big move – imagine you’re doing a tiny hula dance while still locked in your seatbelt. But nonetheless, this movement helps relax your spine and lower back, and also brings circulation into those areas. You can certainly play with direction and tempo — if you’re comfortable, you can do your Elvis impression or a bit of salsa dance right there in the driver’s seat!
Now feeling refreshed all over your body, you can disengage the parking brake and prepare for the green light to “go” on feeling less stress in your body … and it only took a minute!
Thank you for reading – and please let me know if you find this information useful!