5 quick ways to calm down

Send stress packing with these fast fixes

marie claire / October 10 2016

It’s funny how you can have a relaxing weekend but come Monday the stress levels instantly spike. If the thought of everything you have to do and accomplish for the week ahead is giving you a panic attack, follow these simple steps to getting you back to your happy place.


Got 10 seconds? Push it

Even though it’s written for children, the tips in Lauren Brukner’s The Kids’ Guide To Staying Awesome And In Control still works a treat for adults. For a quick grounding, push your palms together (as you would in tree pose in yoga). Hold for five to 10 seconds. This gives your body “proprioceptive input, which lets your body know where it is in
 space”, according
 to Brukner.


Got 30 seconds? Breathe

Close your eyes, place your hand on your stomach and take five deep breaths into your abdomen. By giving your brain a physical sign of relaxation (deep, slow breathing), your brain will take that as a message that the body is no longer facing a threat and will stand down the “fight and flight” response, which is responsible for sending adrenaline and cortisol through your system and increasing your heart rate and blood sugar. Fight and flight is handy if you need to run from a bear, not so good if you feel it while wading through your email inbox.


Got one minute? Hang out

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over, hinging at the hips and bending your knees a little, until your hands are at your feet. In yoga this is called “rag doll pose”. Grab opposite elbows with your hands and just hang, swaying a little from side to side. “Rag doll pose triggers the ‘parasympathetic response’, which means the brain and nervous system switch into their more restful mode,” says Nicole Walsh, co-founder of InYoga studio in Sydney. “Benefits include helping to relieve back and neck pain, stress, mild anxiety and insomnia.”


Got five minutes? Meditate

Sydney-based Lauren Godfrey from Lotus Meditation Centre offers a simple technique: “Find a comfortable spot to sit. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose and then sigh out through your mouth, repeating this a couple of times before allowing your breathing to return to normal. Gently bring your attention to the space around your heart. Thoughts will naturally arise and that’s absolutely OK – quietly and gently return your attention to the heart space again and continue with this process for five to 10 minutes.”


Got 15 minutes? Move

Exercise releases endorphins, which lead to improved immune response, moderation of appetite and an all-round happy vibe. Trainer Damien Kelly has a killer workout to make the most of your limited time: “Find yourself a space in a park near a bench or steps,” he says. “Then do three rounds of the following: run 200 metres; 30 squats; 30-second plank; 30 alternate step-ups; 30-second plank. Start a running clock and round one at the same time. Start round two on the five minute mark, and round three at 10 minutes. If you finish a round in less than five minutes you can take a rest!”

Looking for more ways to find some calmness in your day? Here are seven instantly calming fragrances to try.

For more beauty and wellbeing advice from marie claire, stop by marieclaire.com.au

Main image credit: @lilyaldridge

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