Our bodies are built to be on alert for threats and to take us into fight/flight mode if needed to survive.
That's awesome if there’s a threat of a lion attack, not so awesome if your body thinks everything from money worries to crappy bosses to self-criticism is as threatening as a lion.
Daily life has us stewing in stress hormones and if we don’t tell our bodies “Hey, we’re all good here, you can relax now!” then all that stress can stack up and impact our physical and mental health.
While daily stressors might be unavoidable, there are some easy ways to calm our systems TF down in 20 minutes or less.
1. Daily Physical Activity
20-60 minutes of exercise tells your brain you’ve survived the “threat” and you’re safe. Exercise is AWESOME for this and since we have stress most days, daily activity is ideal.
2. Tense Up then Shake it Out
Exercise just ain’t happening? I get it. Take 60 seconds to tense up your whole body – clench up like you’re bracing for impact – SQUEEEEZE.
And then shake it all out. You can tense up your whole body and/or focus on one area at a time. Repeat the process a few times and it’s almost as good as a workout.
3. Deep Breath and Long, Slow Exhale
Take a deep breath in for the count of 6.
Hold for 6.
Exhale for a count of 10.
The exhale is key. Make sure you get all the air out and your belly contracts. Do this for even just 90 seconds and you will feel a whole lot better!
4. Hum a Tune
Hum a tune or say VOO or OM on a long exhale. Humming vibrates your vocal chords and vagus nerve.
Your vagus nerve plays a key role in keeping you calm and regulated and believe it or not, humming can improve your vagal tone.
Vagal “tone” measures how effectively the autonomic state is regulated through the vagus nerve. Unresolved stress weakens the pathway, and you lose tone. Resolved stress strengthens the pathway and builds tone.
There you have it – 4 quick and easy ways to complete the stress cycle and start regulating your nervous system!
A regulated nervous system = a much happier person, which is always a good thing.