Stress is not necessarily bad. The biographies of great scientists, explorers, artists, and entrepreneurs reveal that times of intense stress are also times of inspiration and creativity, productivity and accomplishment.
Yet stress, if not properly managed, can nevertheless interfere with all aspects of your life.
Meditation is one of the most helpful practices for reducing stress, but I want to recommend two techniques that you can practice at other times throughout the day…
1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation has also been referred to as the tense and release technique. This is an old school technique that is especially effective if you have tense muscles. When you use this technique, the muscles tire and naturally release their tension.
The simple two-step method of progressive muscle relaxation is this:
A) Tense your muscle in a specific part of your body, say the left arm, at approximately 50 percent capacity. Take a deep breath and squeeze the muscle for about 5 seconds. Practice really feeling the tension for the duration of the squeeze.
B) Release the tension. Allow all of the tension to flow out of the muscle you have just tensed. Exhale and wait 15 seconds before tensing another part of your body.
2. The 61 Points Relaxation
61 Points relaxation is a technique that encourages you to survey the body.
When you place awareness on tension within the body, the muscles will naturally release their tension.
This is because a lot of tension in the body is the result of tension in the mind. Excessive thinking moves us away from our natural state of inhabiting the body.
The simple method of 61 points relaxation is this:
Place your awareness one at a time for several seconds on each of the 61 points of the body.
Pretend that you are an explorer, throughly investigating each point.
Continue to survey the body until you have observed each point.