What are your favourite strategies to unwind and relax if you were having a really stressful day?

Modern life is full of stress and agitations that can result in feelings of frustration and overwhelm. What strategies do you use that you find work best when you find yourself in chaos and ready to lose it?
Asked by BrendaJBentley

14 answers

Top answer
Hi Brenda
You are absolutely right modern life is full of stress and agitations and it's very easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
When I feel like this I might use one (or more) of the following tactics to help ...
1. I change my perspective on the particular situation that is causing me anxiety, I might do this by thinking about how someone else might see the problem which often helps solve it or perhaps by taking a long walk somewhere beautiful, ideally somewhere green.
2. I use breathing techniques to regain my control - try breathing in for a count of four and then out for a count of six and as you breath in imagine that you are breathing in calm relaxation and as you breath out imagine you are breathing out stress or tension. A 20minute yoga session can help to still the mind as well.
3. I write a list of all the things I am grateful for in my life, the big things (I have a home and a wonderful family) to the small things (the smile from the lady in Sainsbury's)
4. I break down the cause of my stress into increasingly smaller 'chunks' until it feels managable
5. I do some self hypnosis because this really works in bringing a sense of calm, deep relaxation to my life. It may be worth seeing a hypnotherapist who can teach you this wonderful life skill, and if that's not an option for you it's worth trying a CD/download. (please feel free to download this one from my website http://www.hypnogogo.co.uk/promotions/hypnogoslow-release-your.html it's free).
I hope these tips help and I look forward to seeing the responses from the other therapists.
Best wishes, Claire
Search Treatwell for Anger Management near you
Hi , I am Julia rhodes of West London Colonics.
Many of my clients find colonics a tremendous stress reliever, albeit this isn't usually their primary reason having a session.
Once clients have had a session or two , they do look forward to the stress- busting effects of colonics.
Sleep it off. I know it is difficult sometimes to totally relax, but try it. Get on the couch and stay there and you will relax. Sleep for 1 or 2 hours during the day, sleep off fear and depression and stress. Eat something, drink water. This works for me, then music, I listen to music a lot and then comes yoga. There are free yoga seessions from some internet sites.
I personally find that yoga really helps, although sometimes I really have to make myself do it if I'm not in the mood! Pranayama breathing techniques are great, too.
Thank you all for your answers. I think it's great to get so many points of view and advice on this matter. I'd like to add in my own:
Here are a few strategies you can use to rejuvenate and relax:
1. Take time each day - a few times a day to be still. What this means is that you free yourself from distractions both internally and externally. Modern life is busy. We are reviewing, analyzing, planning and doing all whilst trying to get tea ready! So, to give yourself more energy and less frazzled nature to do those things take a few minutes to sit, with feel side by side on the floor, breathe. Don't try to control the breath, just allow the breath to breathe itself. Focus on your breathing - be present with it. Notice your body, the sensations, again not controlling - just letting it be what it is. Now notice your thoughts and without judgement just notice all the thoughts that whizz around in your mind... let them come and go - BREATHE.
This is an excellent way to ground yourself in the present moment and slow down the mind and body. You can download a free MP3 'Mindfulness Made Easy' by signing up on my website: http://www.buildingbelief.com
2. Create affirmations that support what you want to do. Recite them and create compelling movies of how this plays out in your mind and do this often. What you think about expands, so think about what you want to achieve and you'll give your mind powerful instructions to move you towards what you want. Remember, affirmations work best when you frame them as they are already true: "Harmony and joy surround me today. I am balanced and peaceful."
3. Each morning before you get out of bed, set an intention for the day for what you expect it to be like - be thankful and acknowledge the present as a gift (see what I did there?!). For example: "As I wake from this rest, I am thankful for my comfy bed and the opportunity to thrive today. I will (achieve what you desire) and learn and grown from my action." Each night before bed, again giving thanks for the day you had the opportunity to learn and grow with the intention set for what you will achieve by taking action tomorrow. Problems are only problems because you think them to be. The best way to a good night's sleep is loving thoughts towards yourself, others and your life.
For more tidings of advice about life and getting what you want subscribe to my blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/buildingbelief
Wishing you all a joyful, relaxed and happy holiday season!
Best wishes,
Cognitive Hypno-psychotherapist
Hi Brenda,
You are quite right, the pace of modern day life is fast! I'm a single mum, running a home, a business and my 2 boys are aged 6 & 7. I do have moments of 'overwhelm' which I will address for you. However, isn't it always the case that prevention is better than cure? I live and work in an organised and methodical way (so there's usually time to spare for the unexpected). I have found the balance in life for me that keeps me in a peaceful state. At the start of my day I place inspirational quotations on my business facebook page and Twitter. Taking 20 mins to source those, is 20 minutes of filling myself with positivity and excitement for my day ahead. And I believe in the power of having goals, personal development and I think the most powerful of all, is gratitude. And children!...if you don't have your own, borrow your friends! The opportunity to play, sing, dance, and be generally silly is amazing. I have found that having created a blissful life, there are far fewer times I am aware of a sense of overwhelm.
Turning to the occasional times of 'overwhelm' I initially acknowledge that feeling. I allow it to be, for within that feeling there is an important message for me, letting me know I'm slightly out of balance. The overwhelm will be anxiety based (future based fear). So reminding myself to be very present in the moment, and let go is a great start. Then it's about chunking down, prioritising and setting smaller tasks to reach the outcomes. The art of delegation is important at this stage. Often others are so happy to be asked to help out and to feel they're of use, and yet we can sometimes feel that we have to do it all. I find asking the children to do even simple tasks around the house, makes them feel important and builds upon their self esteem. Funnily enough, this pulling together, and working through busier times as a team then makes you focus on what's really important, and you end up wondering how you became so overwhelmed by things that aren't that important after all.
A very quick fix is to ask yourself whether what you're frustrated or overwhelmed about will be important tomorrow, or in a week, a month etc. If it really is, that's what you give your attention to, and if not, you feel more inclined to relax again.
Best Wishes
Learn EFT and you will have the solution at your finger tips - literally!
i do some deep breathing exercises and meditation and big hug from some one
Depends what the issue is - generally a gin and tonic, a good rant and maybe a cry are good places for me to start. Becoming friendly with the punch bag at the gym has also helped.
Personally, when I am stressed out I can't focus/get organised - the best strategy is to step back and focus on something completely different.
Getting fresh air always clears your mind, unless you keep ruminating over negative thoughts.
One of my massage clients suggested an effective Cognitive Behavioural Therapy technique: look at the bigger picture, focus on the landscape, change your attention to something bigger than you to put your existing problem into perspective.
10 minutes ago I lost a file with my accounts and I almost lost my rag! But I thought I just have to be more careful when saving a document, rolled up my sleeves and started writing the file from scratch again. There's worse things in life!
Thanks for an excellent question.
I guess 'practice what you preach'. Teaching and installing anchors to create useful states isn't just for clients. I fire my anchors and get into the state I want to be in!. Oh and a bit of tai chi helps too
If you feel frustration and overwhelmed then that is what you feel, its real. It doesnt help to pretend you feel something else because the real feelings will still be there underneath waiting for you to deal with them.
Allow your feelings of frustration to come in, allow them to express what they have to tell you, look at the cause of these feelings, acknowledge how this affects you right now. Spend a little time feeling all of this and when you are ready, let the feelings go and distract yourself with something you enjoy and would like to do.
Look after yourself especially well after going through this process as it may mean looking at something quite difficult, which is not always comfortable, but you will feel better for having done it!
If you have any queries please dont hesitate to contact me - I am always happy to reply.
We believe the key to dealing with stress is recognising much sooner when pressure is starting to build. Too often we leave it until we are at breaking point before we stop. By then we really are ready to 'lose it' and the smallest thing can tip us over the edge into sleeplessness, frustration, anger or even mental ill health. Ask yourself throughout the day 'how am I feeling?' then take a break if you need it. If you're at work, take 10 minutes to step outside, stretch out your arms, regroup and breath in some fresh air before returning. If at home find something that you can get absorbed in, have a bath, do a jigsaw or crossword, surf the net - whatever works for you. If you find that 'stuff' is spilling over and you just can't stop thinking about things or worrying allow yourself some 'worrying time' - possibly 10 - 15 minutes and then don't allow those thoughts to creep back in after that. Write a worry list if you have to and then leave it. Sometimes things are beyond our control. However, the one thing we CAN control is how we react to situations and whether we choose to look after ourselves. I hope this helps. Airevalley Counselling & Therapy
Hi Brenda
When I get stressed, yes, even therapists can get agitated...I do the opposite of the headless chicken. I take stock in a few moments of stillness using the breath to calm the physiological triggers generated by those little adrenaline spikes. By breathing deeply and slowly for a few moments and holding acu-points on the body I restore calm and clarity to my body and mind in minutes.
It's the same simple stress management techniques I teach clients when they come to me with their stress and anxiety issues.
If you have any questions give me a call: 01933-439655 or 07751 485204