Easy stress relief exercises

Easy Stress Relief Exercises

Stress has been estimated to account for at least 75% of illness within the body. One very effective method of releasing stress that does not take a lot of time is through the practice of Qigong. The below easy stress relief exercises will give you some instant relief and a change in your emotional and mental state in order that you approach the challenges in your life with more resilience.

Start with the breath.

This mediation will focus on the Qigong Wave Breath, and then moves onto holding the neurovascular points on the head to bring back an even blood flow to the brain.
  • Stand or sit tall with your shoulders and neck relaxed and place your hands over the lower part of your belly, one on top of the other.
  • Breath deeply into your belly and take note of the quality of your breath. Are you able to breath deep slow breaths with ease? Or does your breath feel a little shallow or choppy? Do you have to force yourself to breath easily?
  • Whatever your experience with your breath is right now, just allow it to be and see if you can observe your breath rather than force yourself to take long slow breaths. The more you can surrender to whatever your breath is doing, the more you will be able to relax into it and the result will be longer slower breathing. Do this for the next minute.
  • Feel the belly rise and fall.
  • Now, close you eyes and place one hand over your heart centre and leave the other hand placed on the lower belly. As you breath, imagine that your breath is like a wave. It starts at the base of you belly, ascends up through your stomach and into your chest, and the descends back down to your lower belly. Feel your rib cage move out.
  • As you exhale, feel how the air moves out from your chest area, back down through the belly and into the lower belly as the rib cage moves back in. Soften throughout your jaw and your face. Relax your shoulders and let go of your tongue and this will help soften the muscles around the neck.
  • Ease into your breath and let go of tension in your body. Remind yourself you only have to be right here right now. Nowhere else to be, nothing else to do-bring yourself right into the present moment awareness.
  • Bring your mind completely into the quality and ease of your breathing. Do this for another minute where you breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Let go and surrender to the present moment.
  • In Qigong, this is called ‘Wave breathing’. Imagine your breath is like a wave moving your body and then back down your body.

THE NEURO-VASCULAR POINTSThe neurovascular points on your forehead.

  • Now as you continue to breath, bring your finger tips to your forehead just above the eyebrows where you feel a small ditch in the bone of your skull.
  • Press reasonably firmly with both hands and notice if you can feel the blood flow underneath your fingers. It may take a while before you can really start to feel a pulse underneath your fingers, but give it some time and notice when you feel the pulsing of blood evenly behind all of your finger tips of each hand.
  • At first the blood flow may feel a little wirey, or maybe you feel it on one side but not the other side. Hold your hands continually until you feel the flow underneath both hands through your fingers.

What this practice does.

Key Points.

  • When we get stressed we literally lose a healthy flow of blood to our brain and therefore it becomes harder to think cleary and come up with resourceful solutions to our challenges. By holding the neurovascular points and taking some time to breath deeply until we feel the even pulse of blood under the fingers, we bring back oxygen and nutrients to the brain and a more even flow of energy.
  • This has immediate stress reducing qualities because we are activating the parasympathetic nervous system and releasing the fight or flight response that results from stress that is not properly released and hinders our immune system.
  • When we do this practice every day we begin to reprogram our response to stressful events and therefore be able to handle them with more ease and less wear and tear on the body. It may take as long as 5 minutes or more to get this blood flow going underneath your finger tips depending on how long you have been under stress for without releasing it, so be patient with the practice.
  • If your arms and head get tired holding the position you can sit at a desk and rest your elbows on the desk in front of you and lean your head into your finger tips.

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Comments (10)

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    rob

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    Hi,i really enjoyed reading your blog. I have never heard of Qigong meditation before or Qigong wave breath exercises but it does sound interesting and would love to give it a try. I’ve been meditating on and off now for a few years now and I do find that when I do it consistently over a few months I sleep better and can function better in my day to day life.Thanks again
    Joanne

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hi Joanne, thanks for stopping by. It is interesting that so many have not heard about Qigong and I think one of the reasons for that is that during the cultural revolution in China the exercises were banned and they were trying to do away withy Chinese medicine altogether. So I think that we are slowly learning more and more about all these topics only now as the world is becoming more global in nature and ancient wisdom like this is no longer hidden like it was and slowly making its way into the mainstream. Meditation by itself is amazing, but when you combine it with Qigong it is even more amazing.

      Reply

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    teachexplorerun

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    Hello Liz,

    I find I am a very anxious person. Meditation has definitely helped me relax and calm down. I am getting better at realizing I am overreacting but it a work in progress. I agree that breathing can help. I also think I get sick when I am highly stressed. End of the school year, I always come down with the flu. It is guaranteed. Luckily, I can sniffle in peace while packing up the classroom.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Qigong would be a perfect exercise for you-especially if you are a teacher! Your students will be picking up on your energy unconsciously and will sense as to whether you are relaxed or anxious. Getting sick at the end of something like a school term is your bodies way to release pent up energy. If you were practice a little Qigong each day and release the stress as it occurs you would likely not get ill at the end of term. If you would like to get started I would give Lee Holden’s Online Videos  a go. He makes Qigong very accessible! 

      Reply

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    Becky

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    I haven’t heard of Qigong Wave Breathing or meditating before. This is intriguing. I have found stretching and Yoga to decrease stress (after I’m done, that is). I’ve also tried some meditation, but haven’t regularly practiced mediating.

    Right now, one of my kids is very stressed out because he’s working on his Eagle Project and we just moved. When we moved here, we knew there was a possibility that it was temporary. I’m thinking this is something that we should try together so that we both can feel more whole and at peace so we can enjoy life.

    Thank you for the instructions. I will look around your site so I can learn more. Again, thank you.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi again Becky,

      If you did this for just 5 minutes with your son it would definitely shift both of your emotional states. Kids feed off our energy so if we are stressed out, our kids are more likely to be stressed as well, even if they can’t pin point what is bothering them. I think stress reduction techniques should actually be part of school curriculum. More and more schools in Australia are adopting this as part of their schedules, but it is not yet the norm. Given that you home school, you could make stress reduction and relaxation with mindfulness techniques part of a daily routine. Best done in the morning to set the tone for the day! As a side note, doing mindfulness based exercises enhances our cognitive functions, so kids will learn better. Here is another exercise for stress reduction that is very effective. Once again, very easy to do. The hard part is concentrating!

      I will be putting a youtube video up for this wave breathing and holding the neuro-vascular points soon, so if you want something to follow on with, come back and visit soon!

      Reply

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    jeffrey16201

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    Qi Gong sounds to be a very useful stress relief exercise we all can and should add to our life, meditation of any kind is a way to calm and slow down.

    Qi Gong is highly recommended by many physician’s, I practice meditation myself but never Qi Gong but this post has me interested in giving this a try and see how this might help me with my stress in my own life.

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hi Jeffrey, yes Qigong has a lot of medical studies backing it up and I am confused as to why it is not out there in the mainstream like yoga is. Perhaps it is moving towards that status? I think there is misconceptions that only old people practice these kinds of exercises, but it is great for everyone! Imagine if we all grew up practicing these kinds of mindful exercises? I think the health system would be less burdened. 

      Reply

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    Israel

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    Hi Liz!

    Stress! Tell me about it! 🙁

    I usually use reiki and breathing exercises to relax, but I should do it more often.

    I didn’t know about the neurovascular points, it’s very interesting how focusing on certain points of the human body can help you relief that accumulated stress.

    Thanks for the tips 😉

    Reply

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      Liz

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      Hi Israel. It is a funny thing how we know that certain things are good for us, but we have a hard time doing them regularly. I think it partly has something to do with the belief that it really does help, and also giving ourselves permission to do something pleasurable that allows us to feel happier. 

      I struggle with being consistent too, but I can say for sure that when I practice energy techniques consecutively for at least 5 days in a row, first thing in the morning, my energy and my mood sky rockets!

      Reply

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