Oct 17 , 2020
Anxiety and stress can take over our lives. They affect our relationships, our jobs, our family but we’re so busy all the time so how do we make time to focus on ourselves?
It’s important to set time aside each day to focus on our mental health so here’s some super helpful exercises that you can do in one minute!
1. Positive Affirmations
We’re so used to turning away compliments and being modest that Positive Affirmations can feel quite strange at first. But don’t let this get in the way!
Set aside 60 seconds to look at yourself in the mirror and repeat a handful of positive statements about yourself. This helps to take away from all the negatives around us and really focus on the things we like about ourselves and the things we have to be thankful for.
Below are some examples for you:
- I am loved
- I am a good person
- I am worthy
- I am in love with life
- I am a good parent
- I believe in myself
Take deep calming breaths in between each affirmation and really focus on the words themselves. Maybe even write some out on post-it notes and stick them around your house to remind you throughout the day
2. Deep Breathing
Our breathing changes when we become anxious or stressed, our breaths are short and shallow which leads to that familiar feeling of tightness in your chest.
Our bodies become stiff and our hearts race, when we breath like this it can be hard to snap out of it so if we can take a minute each day to retrain ourselves to breathe deeply this can seriously decrease stress levels.
- Find a quiet place in your home
- Sitting upright, legs crossed if comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breaths
- Take a deep breath in through your nose and inhale for 2 to 3 seconds
- Feel as your chest fills with oxygen and moves up and out
- Exhale through your mouth and allow your anxiety to leave your body
- Repeat this for as long as you can and take the time to clear your mind and focus only on your breathing
3. Relax your muscles
We don’t often realise how much our body and muscles tense up when we are stressed. Our jaw clenches, our brow furrows and our shoulders are tight.
When we pay attention to our body, we can alleviate the physical signs of stress and anxiety.
- Sitting in a position that is comfortable for you, close your eyes and focus in on your body
- Try to feel where your body feels tense and take deep breaths
- Starting from the tips of your fingers and toes concentrate on relaxing each muscle as you work your way up to your head.
- Imagine your body in zero gravity, completely weightless and allow yourself to lie back and stretch out your arms and legs
- Allow yourself to lie like this for at least a minute focusing only on your body
If you have trouble sleeping at night this is a super helpful technique for relaxing and freeing yourself of thoughts before bedtime.
4. Counting backwards for one minute
When stress takes hold, this can easily lead to us snapping at those around us or being unnecessarily short. How many times do we find ourselves getting overly annoyed at something our littles ones (or partners!) do?
Rather than lashing out at those around us, we can take ourselves away and count backwards until we feel calm again. It’s such a simple idea but allows you to focus on nothing but the numbers and allows us to let go of all the little stresses that fill our minds.
It’s good to find a place away from other people and just close your eyes, breath deeply and count from 60 down to 1. Don’t allow any other thoughts to enter your head and you’ll find yourself feeling lighter and more refreshed once the time is up. It’s also a great technique to teach children and gives them the tools to deal with anger and frustration.
As much as we’d all like to commit to a yoga class or Pilates, it’s hard to find the time! But there are some simple exercises that we can do in less than a minute that will calm our minds and increase flexibility.
- Standing with feet hip width apart, raise your arms to the ceiling and take a big deep inhale
- Stand as tall as possible while inhaling and hold for a couple of seconds, focus on your breathing and feel your diaphragm expand
- As we exhale lower your arms down to the floor, folding at the waist
- Try to touch the floor or your toes but don’t worry if you can’t. We all have different levels of flexibility and there is no right or wrong way. If you find you can’t reach down to the floor, then gently hug your knees
- Allow yourself time to hold this position and feel the muscles in your legs stretch and the tensions release.
- Gently move yourself back into a standing position as you inhale once more
This may seem like a small movement, but it gives you time to focus on your body and its tension. It’s a great way to start the day and wake up those muscles.
No one exercise is going to rid you entirely of stress but allowing ourselves time each day to unwind is a good place to start. When the world moves so quickly around us we need to stop every now and again just to take stock.