Stress is an incredibly useful emotion for human beings to experience. It has kept us alive and ensured the evolution of our species, making it a totally natural phenomenon.
What is unnatural however, is the stimulus which is now creating stress in our bodies. While once this spike in cortisol would help us run away from a predator, fuelling the body to move faster with the necessary adrenaline to get us to safety, the same internal chemical reaction is now triggered when in front of a computer, or in a meeting, where there is no real danger. Instead of running away, we are internalising this natural response as tension in the body and in our thoughts.
Before we try to eradicate stress, it's important to take a moment to honour its presence in our lives and in our bodies. When we befriend it we can create a conversation between our mind and bodies, where we say "I know I am feeling under pressure, and I know my body is trying to keep me safe; but I am in no danger right now and all is well."
Taking a conscious pause to switch up our internal and external environment can help bring us back from the edge and into our centre. Here are five simple ways to relax instantly.
Become aware of yourself in this moment
Right now, as you're reading this, take a moment to scan your body and observe what's going on with you, before you try and fix it. Become aware of your spine, are you hunching forwards? And without fixing or correcting it, become intimately aware of how holding your body in this position feels. What are your shoulders doing? Your neck? How about your hands? Are they clenching your phone or free and relaxed?
Often our brain is not aware of how and where we are storing tension in our body, and becoming conscious of what the body is doing whilst in a state or stress, can help wake the brain up to its tension patterns.
Now perhaps close your eyes and bring your awareness to your heart, how are you feeling? How is your breathe? Is it moving freely falling in and out of your being, or constricted by thoughts or posture? Honour yourself and what is happening within by being fully aware of what, beyond your thoughts, is happening for you in this moment.
Ask yourself the golden relaxation question
"How can I make this moment more enjoyable?" We're often extremely good at looking outside ourselves and noticing how we can make a moment more enjoyable or comfortable for others, and often neglect extending this care inwards to our own beings. The answer you find may be surprisingly simple, like taking your shoes off, opening a window, getting a fresh glass of water, standing instead of sitting or making a cup of tea. When the answer comes, take a breath, remind yourself that you deserve to be comfortable and relaxed, and gift yourself whichever change is needed for you.
Listen to music
Music is attuned to certain frequencies which impact our brain chemistry, emotional bodies and our own vibrational frequencies. If we are mindful of the kind of music we listen to - including the tone and lyrics - and are conscious of the effect of different types of music on our being, music can become an incredible tool for relaxation. There are multiple artists now creating music at frequencies that will invoke relaxation and peace.
Try searching for meditative music tuned at different frequencies like 432Hz, which is said to be mathematically consistent with the sound of the universe. These recordings can also be an effective way to ease tension headaches and migraines. Or why not try listening to Binaural Beats, which require headphones and are designed to entrain the brain to different states resulting in stress relief and deeper sleep. Have fun experimenting with different sounds like Tibetan singing bowls, chanting in Sanskrit or Pali, recordings from Nature or even heavy metal - there's as many different ways as there are beings, find out what works for you.
Cleanse your being with water
You can consciously cleanse your being physically or mentally with the power of intention and the cleansing qualities of water. If you have access to a bathroom, you can take a shower, run a bath, or wash your hands or face, mindfully washing away the additional stress that has been clouding your being. Try repeating a mantra to yourself to align your body, mind and spirit in the ritual, such as "as I wash my body, I wash away any built up tension and stress in my being".
You can also do this internally by drinking water. First, state your intention or prayer to the water, silently or aloud. As you take your first sips of water, pay close attention to how it feels on your lips, as it enters your mouth and how it feels traveling down your throat. Visualise this water, infused with your intention, moving through your entire being, interacting and changing the other water molecules in your body to one of peace and relaxation.
Our thoughts are extremely powerful alchemists. Just as some thoughts have created an internal condition of stress in your body, maybe even physically creating the symptoms of tension and anxiety; new thoughts of relaxation, peace and equilibrium can also affect your being, moving you to a state of harmony.
Connect with your Silatha crystal
The properties of your crystal contain within them the memory of each and every meditation you have made with your Silatha crystal. Bring your Silatha crystal between your palms at your heart centre, and send your awareness to the light within. Allow your breath to carry you to the place of stillness resting inside you, which is ever present and always waiting. Here, you can come home and rest.
The more we connect with this space inside us daily, in everyday moments, the easier it is for us to reconnect to this place in times of stress and turmoil. This is why a practice of meditation is so potent - the more we practice, on our good days too, the easier we can find this space within when the mind is loud and body tense.