Stressful days…we’ve all had them. Moments of stress come and go, but sometimes they’re powerful and have the potential to take down our entire day. In the interest of salvaging the day and your spirits, the next time you sense a meltdown drawing near, try some of these simple tips.

1. A dab of essential oil. Select a scent that you love and associate with tranquility. As human beings we are strongly influenced by our sense of smell. A soothing fragrance has the capacity to immediately bathe us in comfort. Take a whiff or apply a touch of your chosen essential oil at home, during calming practices like running a bath, getting a back rub, writing in your journal, or just before bed. By accompanying such relaxing acts with this special scent, you will condition yourself to associate it with serenity. This will allow you to apply it to the wrists, or even neck, during a hectic day and instantly retreat into a soothing moment of comfort and calm.

2. Shutting the eyes. Oftentimes we overlook how stressful it can be for the optical nerve to constantly process light all day long. Closing the lids refreshes not just your eyesight, but also invigorates the consciousness by dousing it with soothing darkness. Taking a moment of shut-eye in the middle of a stressful moment offers clarity. It also heightens the remaining senses, which can prove to be a very powerful calming tactic.

3. Fold forward into Uttanansana. Bend the knees, let the blood flow to the mind, and just hang. Grasp opposite elbows, turn the head from side to side, and just melt down towards the grown. There is great power in oxygenating the brain with deep breathing, and there is also a pacifying affect in saturating the brain with fresh blood. The tingling effect is like hitting a reset button, for me. Also, by hanging forward, tension from the upper back and shoulders (which we quickly accumulate in moments of stress) melts away. Be careful to roll up slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae, and take a moment to enjoy the little circulatory buzz.

4. Carry with you a “token of calm.” I mean this quite vaguely; be creative. It could be a shard of healing crystal, a verbal mantra, a smooth worry stone, a lucky penny, a photograph, a special bracelet, a tattoo, whatever you choose it to be, but keep it with you everyday. Look to your token when stress begins to swell, and allow it to diminish the anxiety.

There is no tried and true cure for stress, at least not one that works for every person. But having a toolkit full of stress relievers is the first step in finding a practice that works for you. These are a few of my techniques, and hopefully they come to your aid next time you are threatened tension and anxiety. One last suggestion, that we all would benefit from doing right this very moment, is to take a big, long, deep, belly breath…and sigh it out. Peace, harmony, well-being, and abundant tranquility!

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