The resources that I have collected here are not aimed at any one specific problem or solution, but at assisting you to learn or gain insight and self-knowledge. Remember, this process targets your ability to achieve a refined version or a better iteration of yourself. You will actually experience personal growth by changing and refining how you view, perceive, and experience any situation.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The following is a “Progressive Muscle Relaxation” exercise. It will assist you in reducing physical symptoms related to stress, anxiety, anger, or any type of emotional agitation. For this exercise to be effective, practice following the recording’s suggestions while sitting or lying comfortably.
Free Resources for your journey
Please help yourself to any of these free resources to help you along your life path, or share this page with others. Please consider us if you find yourself ready to access a psychologist anytime.
You have control of your head and can generate new ways of looking at unpleasant experiences, creating new behaviors, like walking away when feeling provoked.
Whether you realize it or not, your perspective significantly impacts your experience, stress, and ability to function at a high level. When you know that your situation is the cause of your problems, then you have a problem. But once you begin to think that regardless of the difficulty you’re presented with, you have an opportunity; now, you can take advantage of it.
Strategies for stress relief
You can’t avoid stress, but you can stop it from becoming overwhelming by practicing some daily strategies:
- My favorite activity is to practice a mediation, sometimes it just takes a brief moment, to fully clear my mind.
- In the warmer months, I love to sit for even a few moments in an inspiring garden.
- Get up and move around when you feel symptoms of stress coming on.
- Exercise. Even a short walk can boost your mood.
- At the end of each day, take a moment to think about what you’ve accomplished — not what you didn’t get done.
- Set meaningful goals for your day, week, and month. Narrowing your view to what’s most meaningful to you will help you feel more in control of the moment and long-term tasks.
- Consider talking to a therapist. Find someone you feel comfortable and confident seeing. It makes good sense these days to have someone you like who is in your corner to talk about your worries and concerns.
Relieve stress in the moment
When you’re frazzled by your morning commute, stuck in a stressful meeting at work, or fried from another argument with your spouse, you need a way to manage your stress levels right now. That’s where quick stress relief comes in.
The fastest way to reduce stress is by taking a deep breath and using your senses—what you see, hear, taste, and touch—or through a soothing movement. By viewing a favorite photo, smelling a specific scent, listening to a favorite piece of music, tasting a piece of gum, or hugging a pet, you can quickly relax and focus on yourself.
Of course, not everyone responds to each sensory experience similarly. The key to quick stress relief is experimenting and discovering the unique sensory experiences that work best for you.
Make time for fun and relaxation.
Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress by carving out “me” time. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors.
Set aside leisure time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in several ways.
Take up a relaxation practice. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the fight or flight or mobilization stress response. As you learn and practice these techniques, your stress levels will decrease, and your mind and body will become calm and centered.
Ways to prevent stress
Many daily strategies can help you keep stress at bay:
- Try relaxation activities, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises, and muscle relaxation. Programs are available online, in smartphone apps, and at many gyms and community centers.
- Take good care of your body each day. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep help your body handle stress much better.
- Stay positive and practice gratitude, acknowledging your day’s or life’s good parts.
- Accept that you can’t control everything. Find ways to let go of worry about situations you cannot change.
- Learn to say “no” to additional responsibilities when you are too busy or stressed.
- Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support and help you with practical things. A friend, family member, or neighbor can become a good listener or share responsibilities so that stress doesn’t overwhelm them.
Carrying out mindfulness exercises at home is simple and requires only frequent practice. This psychological concept based on Buddhist meditation has spread throughout the West and can be an ideal method to cure anxiety and an effective relaxation technique.
Mindfulness is translated into Spanish as “Full Attention.” It is defined as the human capacity to be in the present and to remember to be in the present, that is, to constantly return to the here and now, to recognize what is happening while it is happening.
It is based on the so-called four noble truths:
- Suffering is inherent in the human condition.
- The source of suffering is dissatisfaction with desire.
- The elimination of suffering lies in the elimination of desire.
- The eightfold path for eliminating suffering consists of understanding, thinking, word, action, occupation, effort, attention, and concentration.
The main instruction for practicing mindfulness is to show what appears in the mind, just watch it. It is accepting without judging, criticizing or reacting. You have to keep a beginner’s mind, as if everything was new, have mental openness and not sticking. Have an attitude of compassion, kindness and affection towards one’s own experience, as presented in the present moment.
Mindfulness exercises to practice at home
Although it may be difficult to practice mindfulness in the beginning, it will become easier for us in time. As in everything, the usual practice will help us get more skill until we can do it almost automatically.
Here are a series of exercises that you can practice easily and simply to get started in mindfulness.
1- Conscious breathing
This is one of the most used exercises in mindfulness. With a little practice you can get to control in a short time and carry it out in any place or situation. The benefits it has are numerous, including almost immediate reduction of levels of anxiety and stress .
Normally we perform a superficial breathing, called the thoracic. For conscious and deep breathing (also called diaphragmatic breathing) we can follow the following steps:
- Find a comfortable place where you can lie down and rest easy. The background music relaxing or nature sounds can be of help.
- First locate the diaphragm by placing your hands on the abdomen, just where the ribs end.
- Slowly inhale and note as your hands rise upward, without the chest area moving, only swelling the area where you have your hands in.
- Now breathe out and feel your hands go down again, as if your abdomen is a balloon that is deflating until all the air comes out. Do not force your breath, adjust yourself to the rhythm your body requires.
- Once you control your breathing you can do it anywhere and in any position. Pay attention to inhalation and exhalation. Concentrate only on that and the sound you make in carrying them out. If thoughts appear outside the breath let them flow, do not try to reject them, just watch them and concentrate on your breathing again.
2- Watch a candle
Another way to focus your attention in a simple way is to adopt a comfortable posture, in a room without noises or with relaxing background music and watch the flame of a candle for a few minutes. Concentrate on the shape, the color, the variations that you have, etc.
Same as in the previous case, if during practice appear thoughts, do not try them or try to avoid them, just watch them, let them be and then resume concentration on the candle and its movement.
3- Watch a movie, read a book, listen to music
In short, it is about choosing an activity that you like, that makes you feel good and dedicate yourself solely and fully to it. That is, turn off the mobile, the computer, etc. and concentrate on seeing, hearing, feeling … in a conscious way, leaving aside for a few minutes everything else and consciously enjoying that moment.
4- Color, draw, write
The creativity is one of the most suitable ways of living the present. Develop it in the way that best suits your way of being, that you like or that you report more well-being . The time you spend creating is fully aware of what you are doing and away from the day-to-day thoughts and concerns.
It is not a matter of making a great creation, or of being perfect. The benefit of this practice is to achieve a state of relaxation and full awareness of what you are doing.
5- Eat consciously
By the daily rush we forget that eating can become a very rewarding experience, and not only when we go to a restaurant or on some special occasion.
Enjoy the smells, the colors, the texture and the flavors that the food offers you every day. Do it slowly, without haste, identifying each hue and enjoying the experience fully.
6- Know yourself
This is the most appropriate way to be self-conscious. Knowing our defects, our virtues, the motivations or aspirations we have. Perform an internal reflection and list all of the above. You can perform reflection weekly and go adding or removing things from the list.
In this way, in addition to knowing ourselves, we will understand our thoughts, feelings and ways of acting. Accept yourself as you are, from understanding and caring for yourself. Understand the defects as an aspect that is part of you, but that can be modified if you wish.
7- Learn to guide your focus of attention
Most of the time we are focused on the past, on what has already happened, or on the future, on what is to come and how we are going to face it. To live the present moment, it is crucial to focus your attention on what you are doing at the moment, whatever the task: take a shower, prepare food, drive, work, be with your partner, doing homework with your children, etc.
It is about living fully in the here and now and anchoring our attention in the present moment. Every time you see your focus drift back to the task you are doing right now.
8- Practice gratitude
Being grateful is one of the attitudes that we are most concerned about. They make you feel good, value your surroundings and enjoy a new day. You can do it in the morning when you wake up or just at bedtime. Be grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy a new day, to spend time with your loved ones or to have enjoyed some good times.
Every day we live pleasant experiences but if we do not stop to think about them in a conscious way, to pay attention to them, we go completely unnoticed.
9- Accept everything
Accepting does not mean resigning oneself, but assuming things as they come. Both good and bad things, positive as well as negative experiences. The first step in dealing with the negative things that happen to us in life is to accept them, to feel the pain or the sadness it produces.
By denying them we can not solve them or channel the emotions that cause us correctly. Likewise, try to accept others, with their virtues and their flaws, even with that that bothers you so much of other people.
Each individual has their own thoughts, emotions, concerns, etc. and it is essential to understand that each person has the right to act as he sees fit, regardless of whether it seems to us right or wrong.
Understanding this can profoundly improve our relationship with others, because we will no longer require them to behave as we would like them to behave and feel free to act as they will or can.
10- Dedicate yourself more time
Turn time spent with you into a routine. Think about what you like to do, how you feel good, and make it a habit. Reading, writing, sports, watching a movie, meditating, etc. Take advantage of these moments to connect with you, to know how you feel and what you think, at what point you are and where you want to go.
Take advantage of these moments to thank for everything that makes you happy, to recreate what makes you feel good (family, friends, hobbies, work, occupations, experiences, moments, etc.) and that makes you enjoy life fully.
Benefits of mindfulness
In recent years, many studies have been done around the practice of mindfulness and these have yielded conclusive data on the benefits it reports in people. Some of the most outstanding are:
- Practicing mindfulness contributes to reducing physical pain and emotional reaction to it. Some research indicates that physical pain is reduced in some cases to 93%.
- It improves the person’s mood and quality of life. When we are well and live in a positive way, we feel a greater well-being with ourselves, with those around us and with life in general.
- It improves concentration ability and creativity and therefore improves academic performance and in the workplace.
- Protects against mental illness . A study carried out at the University of Oregon in the United States, concludes that the practice of mindfulness can generate physical changes in the brain, increasing the connections between the cells and the growth of myelin , which can prevent the onset of mental illness .
- It serves as a remedy against depression , anxiety and stress . Studies in this field indicate that people who practice mindfulness have lower levels of cortisol , the stress hormone.
- Helps sleep better . A study conducted at the University of Utah concluded that people who have high levels of mindfulness have better control over their emotions and less activation at bedtime, which has benefits in sleep quality .
- Practice strengthens the immune system .
- Improves heart and circulatory health by lowering blood pressure.
On many occasions we confuse mindfulness with other practices or theories. That is why it is important to know what is not mindfulness:
- It is not about trying to relax.
- It is not a religion.
- It does not try to transcend daily life.
- It is not emptying the mind of thoughts.
- Its practice is not difficult, over time we can realize it almost without realizing it, automatically.
- It is not a way of escaping, denying or abstracting from pain.
Usually, in our daily lives, we are in the present only partially, because while we perform different tasks, our mind is usually in the past or in the future, without paying full attention to what we are doing or what is happening in that moment.
When this happens, many experiences and moments go unnoticed. Also, when the emotions we experience are negative or unpleasant, we tend to avoid them, deny them and / or judge them. Mindfulness proposes to accept them and let them be as they are presented. Negative, as well as positive, emotions are necessary and adaptive.
They help us to convey to others how we feel, regulates the behavior of others towards us and so does social interaction. Trying to avoid negative emotions will only generate more suffering to the situation that is already painful in itself.
Quick Ways to Reduce Anxiety
Deep breathing is one of the most well-known and effective ways to reduce feelings of anxiety right now. Focusing on your breathing is a method to help you to control your focus. We all need to practice maintaining our focus. Otherwise, our mind races and skips from one critical thought to another random judgment, creating the anxiety we need to escape.
Focus on your breathing, let it slow down, and start breathing from your belly instead of your chest. Notice your abdomen expands and contracts with each breath. Focus on breathing from your belly as though a balloon is inflating and deflating in your stomach with each breath.
Body Scan Exercise
A body scan is meant to be a simple way to reduce physiological arousal levels, which would otherwise exacerbate other symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Below are some instructions to get you started.
- Get comfortable. I prefer lying down as it is the easiest way to relax my muscles. Sitting comfortably is also an option if you’re at work.
- Take a few deep breaths. Let your breathing slow down, and start breathing from your belly instead of your chest, letting your abdomen expand and contract with each breath. Focus on breathing from your belly as though a balloon is inflating and deflating in your stomach with each breath.
- Bring awareness to your feet. Now slowly bring your attention down to your feet. Begin observing sensations in your feet and toes. If you notice pain, acknowledge it without any judgment, thoughts, or emotions accompanying it, and gently breathe through it.
- Breathe into the tension. If you notice any stiff or uncomfortable sensations, focus on them. Breathe into them, and see what happens. Visualize the tension leaving your body with each exhalation and evaporating into the air. Move on when you feel ready.
- Scan your entire body. Continue this practice with each area of your body, gradually moving up through your feet until you reach the top of your head. From your feet to your calves, thighs, buttocks, lower back, abdomen, chest, upper back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, face, and top of the head.
- Notice how you were feeling and where you were holding your stress. If there’s any residual tightness, pain, or pressure, breathe into it. This can help you release tension in your body right now and be more aware of it in the future so you can release it then, too.
- Practice this body scan anytime you feel stressed or several times throughout the day as a regular practice. It relaxes the body and focuses the mind.
- If you don’t have much time, you can do an abbreviated version of this body scan by just sitting and noticing any place in your body where you’re carrying tension rather than moving from part to part. This will become easier the more you practice.
- The body scan can promote body awareness, stress awareness, and relaxation. Practice it often. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, or visualization exercises for releasing stress and tension in your body.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The following is a “Progressive Muscle Relaxation” exercise. It will assist you in reducing physical symptoms related to anxiety. For this exercise to be effective, practice following my suggestions while sitting or lying comfortably.
You are NOT Your Thoughts
Although Freud proposed that thoughts are innately related to who we are, cognitive behavioral therapists’ more modern system is that thoughts are merely thoughts — not indicators that paint a picture of who we are.
Thoughts are often in direct opposition to the thinker. People with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and anxiety often ruminate about the darkest of fears. They are more conscientious than the average person and, thus, obsess about whatever horrid thoughts come to the surface because they are so horrified that they have them.
There is NO right or wrong way to deal with grief.
OK, I’ve started a collection of insightful ways of improving our emotional state and the quality of our lives. It seems self-evident that some of us look at life or the situations we find ourselves in and blame those experiences for everything, from a low salary to the trouble our kids get into to the conflicts we encounter.
But it may be more advantageous for us to find new ways of thinking about things, ultimately giving us the control we’ve been looking for all our lives. I’ll add to this collection as I learn more that I hope is valuable enough to share.
Design an Alliance with Life
Set aside a whole day to be alone in nature. Get as far away from buildings, traffic noise, and human-made things as possible. Refrain from doing something active like going for a hike, but instead, perhaps slowly stroll as you walk, taking the time to stop, look and listen. Be still and present with the natural world around you. Be curious about what is needed from you right now. How can you serve life? How is life serving you?
Journaling is a Great Tool
These days, we can maintain a journal about just about anything, including business or performance strategy, in a book or digitally. Talking about various underlying concerns with a Psychology Coach may be the most effective approach for many of us to improve our emotional states, but I recommend starting with a journal.
You can reflect on and contemplate everything you experience daily in your journal. There isn’t a right or a wrong way to do this. Just write openly and honestly about everything and anything that comes to mind in as much detail as possible. You can re-read it later. Sometimes your past writing makes no sense, and sometimes, it’s insightful. Give it a try. Best of all, it’s completely confidential.
Journaling on Your Relationships
Pick a relationship. Here are a couple of helpful questions to journal about.
- What is my story about this relationship, and why is it complicated/difficult, etc.?
- What evidence have I collected to support this story (examples of behaviors the other person has said or done)?
- What might be possible if I had a different perspective on this story?
Next time you are with this person, implement what you’ve discovered from your answers and then journal on what happens in your relationship.
The scenario planning process is simple, yet few of us take the time. Through this preparation strategy, you can think two, four, or six steps ahead of others. There’s nothing to learn. No skills to practice. Prepare yourself for any upcoming situation by employing your imagination. Please consider us if you find yourself ready to access a psychologist anytime.
I believe that the “PURPOSE” of life is to reflect on your past experiences and learn more about the unique individual that you are, plus to contemplate the future and what’s most meaningful to you.
Think about your thoughts, feelings, and expectations. Reflect upon life experience and the people we allow into our influential sphere. Care for your “mind.” Your mind reflects all of your thoughts, decisions, and experiences.
Leadership development has created people who are commanding, decisive, and uncaring. Too many leaders have become too difficult to follow. Simply put, followers do not like, admire or respect their so-called leaders. It has become commonplace that we are told that we must follow or else. This has created an unhealthy standard of leaders who are, more often than not, narcissistic.
When a problem comes up (and of course, it will!), try looking for the opportunity or blessing it holds. A shift in thinking like this is a proven stress reliever and can open up powerful creativity.
Although self-expression is vital to happiness, HOW we express ourselves and how we feel is KEY.
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