“If you are in a bad mood go for a walk.If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.”
This stress reduction technique helps decrease high levels of anxiety and decreases the irritability of the sympathetic nervous system. It also stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, helps release bile in the gallbladder and release digestive enzymes in the pancreas.
Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Relax. Roll your head a few times to relax the muscles in your neck.
Gently hold left thumb and index finger pads together with the palm of your right hand. (Right palm over two left fingers)
Breathe deeply – in through the nose, slowly, and imagine air filling you all through your body and down to the feet. Then exhale out through your mouth, slowly. Repeat this 7-10 times.
Imagine in your mind a peaceful place that you have been to – ie. a vacation spot, a wonderful childhood memory, ocean side, beach, mountains. “Remember” that place with all of your senses. See the surroundings. Hear the sounds. Feel, Smell and Touch it with your imagination.
For example, See and Hear the ocean and the sand and wildlife. Feel the sand through your toes as you walk, and the warm sun rays touching your body, and the breeze blowing through your hair. Smell the ocean air, and taste the salt water on your tongue. Focus on this memory and hold it in your mind for 3-10 minutes.
If you practice this 3-4 times a day (before meals and before bed), you will greatly reduce your emotional stress during the day and you will also be able to sleep better and longer at night. Practicing this technique on a regular basis will allow you to be able to recall it more easily so that you can utilize it at any given time when you may find yourself in a stressful situation. Find a quiet moment anywhere and anytime throughout your day to get into a relaxed frame of mind.
Adapted from Wm. Lee Cowden, MD