With holiday season now in full effect, stress is almost always present in all of us. We’ve all been there including myself.
Sometimes, simply the thought of coming together with all your relatives after a long time can be overwhelming, and sometimes a simple conversation can cause a lot of stress and pain. Other times, workplace parties or other social events are the source of your stress.
You may have already had these stressful situations happen so far this month, or maybe they are approaching within the next few days or next week. During this time, it is always it is always good to have a few de-stressing techniques ready, whether you already need them or as a tool to have just in case you need it in the future.
For me, the easiest way to de-stress at any time and any place – even amongst a crowd, is by using breathing exercises for stress relief. Today, I’m sharing the best ones with you, to help you remain calm and stress-free during the holidays.
1. Simple Deep Breaths For Emptying Your Mind
Sometimes, stress catches up to you slowly through your thoughts. It starts off like one stressful thought, and after a while, another such thought pops up in your mind. And then, more of these thoughts follow. Soon, you are going back and forth between remembering your previous stressful thoughts and coming up with new ones. Soon, you start spiraling and start getting overwhelmed by these stressful thoughts. The worst part is, it can happen anytime – anywhere. Especially during family gatherings on holidays. The easiest way to fight this off is to take a few deep breaths and empty your mind of the thoughts that are causing you stress. To do so, you can close your eyes or leave them open, and take a very deep breath. Inhale through your nose until you feel like your lungs can’t get filled up anymore, and exhale through your mouth very slowly until there is no more air left in your lungs. As you do so, focus completely on your breath and nothing more. Then, repeat the same process 5-15 times. By the end of it, you will feel calmed down, de-stressed and with a clear head. The best part about this simple breathing technique is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, and reduce your stress instantly without anyone noticing.
2. The 12 Second Breaths
Another simple breathing technique that you can use for relieving stress is the twelve seconds breath rule. With this technique, you won’t only clear up your mind, but you will also find it much easier to focus on the bigger picture. I prefer to use this one because I find it easier to detach from the current situation with this technique.
The twelve-second breaths or the 4x4x4 rule requires for you to inhale through your nose for 4 seconds. Then, you need to hold your breath for 4 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds through your nose. When you are doing this technique, you shouldn’t rush the counting because the goal of this exercise is to slow your breathing, and through it your whole body to induce a state of relaxation.
3. Visualizing De-Stressing
The holiday season can be harsh, and sometimes the simpler breathing techniques won’t be enough to fully de-stress you. Sometimes your emotions are much harder to control, and the stress is too overwhelming. However, no matter the situation or the cause of stress, you should always remember that you are in control. Whether you let the stress take you down, or you regain control – it’s always up to you! With this in mind and a few more advanced de-stressing breathing methods, you will discover that no amount of stress can bring you down.
One of my favorite breathing techniques is to visualize myself de-stressing. When I get to a point where I feel like my stress levels can only go higher, I go to a little trip to the toilet, to get away from everyone, and do this simple exercise.
Close your eyes, and visualize your body. Visualize that your body is see-through and that in it, there are dark clouds that simply float in your body freely. These dark clouds represent the stress that has been piling up inside of you throughout the evening. On your next inhale, visualize the dark clouds getting stirred up, and getting less dark. When you breathe out, visualize that the dark clouds are getting outside of your body. Take deep breaths, and as you exhale each time, visualize that there are less and less dark clouds inside you. Take as many breaths as you need to get every single dark cloud outside of you. For me, it usually takes somewhere between 8-12 breaths, but it all depends on you and your stress levels.
4. Following Your Heartbeat
If you feel like visualizing is too hard for you because you are fairly upset, don’t worry, there are other techniques to help you gain calmness. For example, you can always use a breathing technique that I like to call following your heartbeat. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath through your nose, and then exhale through your mouth slowly. As you exhale feel how your heart is beating through your chest, and how that heartbeat is spreading through your body with each pulse. Follow the heartbeat from your chest to your arms, fingertips, head, legs, and toes. And as you inhale, focus on the pulsing in your toes, legs, head, fingertips, arms, and back to your chest. I recommend you take at least 10 breaths when doing this breathing technique, and for best results, at least 20 breaths.
5. Re-focusing On Calmness
Of all the breathing techniques that I have shared with you today, I must admit that for me, the most calming technique is when I combine mindful breathing with a Blue Chalcedony Bracelet. I choose to work with Blue Chalcedony Bracelets during the holiday season, because Blue Chalcedony is not only a calming crystal that helps in restoring balance, but also because it’s a crystal that helps with expressing yourself to others. Sometimes, a simple misunderstanding is enough to not only be hurt but to also easily hurt your loved ones without intention.
Whenever I wear the Natural Blue Chalcedony Lotus Mala, and I feel upset and stressed out, I like to touch a bead of the mala and take a very deep breath. As I inhale, I create a concept in my mind that as long as I am touching the beads - I am inhaling calmness and joy, and as I exhale, I am breathing out the stress from my body. Sometimes, it takes just one breath for me to instantly relax any tension that I am feeling, and sometimes it takes a few breaths to fully calm myself down.
Now that I have shared all my secret breathing techniques, which technique will you try out during the holidays? Which one seemed as the most helpful one? Let me know in the comments below!