Conflicts, heavy workloads, time pressure: Sometimes we are bombarded with a lot in everyday life and the stress level skyrockets. Even small strategies can help. But you have to practice them.
Well, stressed? Anyone who regularly answers this question with yes in everyday life is living unhealthily. Because stress not only gnaws at our mental state in the long run, but also damages the body. Most people know that stress is anything but good. But what is the best way to bring yourself down in moments of inner tension?
"A good start is just realizing that you're energized," says Christiane Wettig, a relaxation educator from Echzell (Hesse). The next step is to pause, listen carefully to yourself and ask yourself: what would do me good now? One often finds that a lot of negative energy builds up in the body under acute stress. "The answer then is: reduce energy," explains Holger Kracke, chairman of the Federal Association for Burnout Prophylaxis and Prevention in Munich.
How best to do this varies from person to person. "Some scream loudly, others go for a run or climb stairs," says Kracke, who is also a trainer and speaker. Besides that, there is a lot more you can do.
Tip 1: A little attention to the neck and shoulders
"A lot can be achieved just by stretching and stretching," says Wettig. This is often possible in the workplace as well. For example: stand up, stretch your arms up, and then let them dangle loosely as you take a few steps.
Another stretch: Bend your head forward while lowering your chin toward your chest. Now both hands come on the back of the head. You gently press your head down until you feel a slight stretch. This stretch is held for about 30 seconds before releasing. Now feel the relaxation for another 20 seconds. The exercise is repeated as often as is good for you.
The advantage of such exercises: you find your way back into your own body and into the moment. And neck and shoulders appreciate a little attention - after all, stress often manifests itself in the form of tension.
Tip 2: Breathe deeply - and off to the cinema in your head
"Even a breathing exercise is a form of energy reduction," says Kracke. A possible variation: focus on the heart, breathe in for about five seconds and imagine the oxygen flowing into the heart. Then exhale for about five seconds, following the idea of the oxygen flowing out through the heart.
Keep breathing in this rhythm while recalling something that makes you feel good. For example, gratitude for a specific person. Or a scent that you like to sniff - such as cinnamon or roses.
Tip 3: Activate your senses
Just look out the window and see what's going on outside. "That sounds trite, but it can do an incredible amount when it comes to reducing stress," explains Christiane Wettig, who is also a board member of the professional association for relaxation educators (BVEP). Also relaxing: Warm your hands by rubbing them together and then place them over your eyes. Or massage your tense neck and notice how the tissue loosens.
If you live near a river, you can go to the shore for some time and focus on the movement of the water. And imagine doing it: "The water flows away, as does my stress," says relaxation educator Wettig. Alternatively, the stress can also move away with the clouds in the sky.
"A so-called stress ball can also be helpful," explains Kracke. Crunching and shaping the little ball can help relax you. The good thing is that you can take it with you anywhere. It can even be kneaded under the table during appointments - invisible to others.
Tip 4: Turn up the music, turn down the world
"That can help to reduce the stress level quickly," says Christiane Wettig. Of course it should be music that you find pleasant. If you have a playlist with your favorite songs ready, you have an advantage. If the worst comes to the worst, this measure can also be implemented in an open-plan office - as long as you have headphones ready and can switch off for a moment.
Tip 5: Find stillness - outside or inside
Another way to reduce stress is to find a quiet place. "For example, a church room," explains Wettig. You can also find silence in nature to sort yourself out. Anyone who gets involved will find peace and the burdening pressure will ease over time.
By the way: Strategies against acute stress work best if you are already familiar with them. The best strategy is useless if you don't have it on screen in moments of stress. "In this respect, it is important to do more preventively," says Kracke. So find out for yourself which ways you can find relaxation and incorporate them regularly into your everyday life. Then the insidious "SOS Stress!" feeling is less common.