Everyone has their own issues to deal with every day, and it is no surprise that people are reporting heightened levels of stress globally. According to a survey by health service company Cigna, Singaporeans are among the most stressed at work globally.
For the working adults, Forbes has articles on tips to reduce your stress at work. However, stress can be encountered by all ages everywhere beyond work. It is important for all of us to learn a few tricks on stress management, hence we have compiled a list of ways to help you destress.
1. Deep breathing
When you are relaxed, take a moment to observe how you breathe. Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful technique to relax your mind and body. Some people like listening to therapeutic music while practicing breathing, but all you need is just a quiet place and a few minutes of concentration.
Some of the basic tips on deep breathing are:
- Lie down flat on a ground or sit up straight, but make sure you are comfortable with the position.
- Place one hand on your stomach.
- Inhale and take a deep breath through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise and move out.
- Exhale and breathe out through your mouth. The hand on your stomach should fall and move in.
- Observing your hand movements will help you to concentrate on your breathing.
- Repeat this several times and take your time with each breath.
Notice how you feel at the end of this breathing exercise. You can check out other types of breathing exercises as well.
2. Spend time in nature
There is nothing more relaxing than getting up close and personal with greenery and mother nature. According to a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, being involved with nature can bring about many individual and social benefits.
Stressed or not, we should take a moment now and then to appreciate the nature we are surrounded by as taking time to enjoy these little moments can lift our spirits up as well.
Despite the small land mass, Singapore is a haven with rich biodiversity. From MacRitchie Reservoir Park with the magnificent TreeTop Walk to the lush and verdant Southern Ridges, there are plenty of parks and gardens for you to take walking or cycling trails in.
3. Mindfulness Meditation
More often than not, we worry too much about things in the past or things that might happen in the future. Mindful meditation helps you to focus on what is happening right now and be fully engaged in the present moment.
Practicing meditation helps you to calm your jumbled thoughts that are in your mind and causing stress. Meditation can give you a sense of peacefulness that can benefit your overall health. That is why there is an increase in public interest in mindful meditation.
You don’t need any tools to practice meditation; similar to deep breathing, you just need a quiet place and a moment of concentration. When you start on this meditation journey, you may want to try meditating for only 10 minutes or less, and then gradually increase the timing.
Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself if your mind wanders. If you find yourself being distracted during meditation, try to focus on what you are actually thinking about – for instance, if you are thinking about “I wonder if I will be able to finish my work tonight”, acknowledge the thought, and then let it go. Try to bring your focus back to your breathing.
If you need some guidance with meditation, Buddhist nun Gen Kelsang Nyema did a wonderful Ted talk about how happiness is all in your mind, and you may join her meditation process during the talk.
4. Get Creative
Your artistic side can help you to better manage stress as well. As mentioned in our “5 Reasons Why You Should Draw and Paint” post, art therapy is a widely used method in mental health treatment that can lower anxiety and stress.
Studies have shown that cortisol, a hormone, is a marker of stress. In a report published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Kaimal and a group of researchers discovered that after 45 minutes of art-making, there is a significant reduction in the cortisol levels of the participants.
The bottom line is that you should not worry too much about the final product. Just focus on the present moment, get in touch with the artistic side in you, and enjoy making art.
If you would like to have a relaxing session by creating art in a studio, sign up for Drawing and Painting Lessons at Pabha. Pabha offers a variety of classes for anyone interested in art and they are taught by professional artist Pabhrakara Jimmy Quek.
Remember, as William S. Burroughs once said, “Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” It is important to manage stress effectively and we hope that this article has helped you to learn how to relax.