Are you stressed out, anxious, and irritated looking for
some quick ways to effectively calm yourself down? Here are a few suggestions
that I’ve repeatedly discovered help my patients as their psychotherapist:
SMILE! Smiling actually releases endorphins and
lifts your spirits and relaxes you.
Look outside of yourself. This means look out a
window, take a walk, focus on what’s around you and just as the smile releases
endorphins, so does a shift in focus and brisk walk.
around you outside takes you out of what’s preoccupying you on your mind as
well. Seeing new sights with focus builds new neurons as you learn something
If you feel exhausted from worry, take a nap. To
actually fall asleep concentrate on the feelings in your head rather than your
thoughts. Or listen to a whirring fan or sound machine to shift your focus. Even
a ten-minute power nap relaxes your body and puts your mind into a deep sleep
that gives you a break from recurring worries.
Try a “plank” exercise. Lie on your stomach with
hands and forearms holding you up at the same time you are lifting yourself
with your toes. Put a clock with a second hand next to you and see how many
seconds you can hold yourself up. Your back is prone and straight. You will
discover your focus is definitely on your body not your mind and as you
strengthen your core, you actually relax. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this
before and collapse in seconds. In time, you will be amazed at how long you can
last. It’s exhilarating and great exercise!
Improve your balance. Standing tall, put one
foot in front of the other so that the back of one foot touches the toes of the
other. Take about ten steps forward if you can without losing your balance.
Then do the same, walking backwards. If you last for less than ten steps, don’t
be discouraged. In time with repetition, your balance will improve
exponentially. Once again, you not only benefit from increased balance in your
body, but in your mind as well as you focus on this exercise instead of your
Sing! What? You can’s sing well? Hey, no one’s
listening. Hum or sing the words to a happy tune and your endorphins will sing
with you as you lighten your spirit and find you are grinning as well!
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist of infants, children, teens, & adults. She is the three time award winning author of the Gold Mom's Award Book UNLOCKING PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE: FINDING MEANING IN YOUR CHILD'S BEHAVIOR; THE PARENT'S GUIDE TO MANAGING ANXIETY IN CHILDREN AND TEENS: THE PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE WAY; and THE PARENT'S GUIDE TO MANAGING ANGER IN CHILDREN AND TEENS: THE PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE WAY. She has been on the faculty of Naew York University, Long Island University, Society for Psychoanalytic Study & Research (where she was Pres.), Long Island Institute for Psychoanalysis. She has written for the International Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, the International Infant Observation Journal, The Inner World of the Mother. In practice for 30 years, she writes extensively on parenting for HuffPost and other parenting websites. She has been a painter for 20 years of still lifes, abstracts, landscapes, & portraits in acrylic, oil, watercolor, and pastel. She is the mother of two sons and wife of writer & sculptor, Jeff Hollman.
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“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS