5 Exercises to Instantly Reduce Stress

By February 29, 2016Mental Health

You overslept and got dressed so quickly, your socks don’t even match. The travel mug of coffee you hastily prepared is now a hot, sticky mess in your lap. Traffic is jammed, and you have a meeting twenty minutes ago.


Life is stressful. Even if this isn’t a picture of your typical morning, the daily grind can be difficult to keep up with, especially when you add in family and community responsibilities. When you’re at the boiling point and ready to explode, you need something to help relieve your stress quickly.


If you’re unfamiliar with the practice of yoga, it is a very calming, centering, and strengthening form of exercise you can use at home or at the office to significantly reduce your stress levels and feel more grounded.


Here are 5 exercises to try today:


1. Victory Squat


  • Start by standing up straight with your feet together, then space your feet apart by stepping one foot out to the side.


  • Keeping your legs apart in a wide stance, turn your toes outward so your heels are facing each other.


  • Slowly bend your knees and lower your tailbone as though you are going to sit in a chair.


  • Keeping your elbows bent, bring your arms out to either side of you, palms facing forward, fingers raised toward the ceiling.


  • Keep your core muscles engaged as you hold this pose for 30 seconds. Take a few deep breaths during this stance and allow your shoulders to relax. If you cannot comfortably hold the pose for the full 30 seconds, hold it as long as you are able.


This pose helps focus your mind and gives you a feeling of empowerment.


2. Forward Fold


  • Stand up straight with your feet together.


  • Take a deep breath and gently roll yourself forward as you reach behind you to grasp the back of your thighs, knees, or calves. Your neck should be loose, your head hanging toward the floor.


  • Hold this pose for 30 seconds before slowly straightening back up to your original position.


When you drop your head below your heart, your brain calms down. This helps to relieve stress and anxiety almost instantly. This pose can also help alleviate chronic neck and back pain.


3. Legs Up the Wall


  • Sit on the floor so your hip is flush with the wall. Your legs should be straight, knees together, toes pointing toward the ceiling.


  • Exhale and slowly lie on your back.


  • Using your heels and pivoting your body, walk your feet up the wall, scooting until you’re “sitting” on the wall. Spread your arms outward, palms up. Your body should now be at a right angle. Allow your entire body to relax and breathe normally.


  • This restorative and relaxing pose is an excellent way to relieve stress quickly as it helps reverse the typical actions your body takes when sitting or standing. It also helps ease tension in your hips and lower back.


  • To come out of the pose, press the bottoms of your feet against the wall and gently roll to one side. Lower your legs to the floor and lie there for several moments before standing. (You don’t want to get lightheaded.)




4. Child’s Pose


  • For this pose, start by getting down on all fours.


  • Take a deep breath and slide your hands forward until your belly is resting on your thighs and your forehead is touching the floor or yoga mat.


  • You may choose to keep your arms out in front of you to support your head or place them on either side of you, palms facing upward.


  • Hold this pose for three to five minutes.


This pose is very healing as it instantly relieves tension in your neck, shoulders, and spine. It also helps calm your nervous system and bring your body and mind back into a state of balance.


5. Happy Baby


This is a cute and fun pose, but if you’re at work, you might want to close your office door before trying it.


  • Lie down on your back on the floor or a yoga mat. Take a deep breath and, using your core muscles, pull your knees toward your chest.


  • Reach up and grab your feet, then push them upward to create a resistance.


  • If you are unable to reach your feet with your hands, use a yoga strap wrapped around your middle arches.


  • Your ankles should be directly above your knees as you hold this pose for three to five minutes.


This pose instantly reduces stress and calms the mind. It also opens the hips and helps realign the spine.


When you’re stretched a bit too thin, these yoga poses can help quickly relieve your stress so you can return to your activities with a clearer mind and calmer heart.


To learn more about yoga and how to harness its healing power in your life, click on the video link below.



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