Stress and anxiety seem to be reaching almost epidemic levels in our society. Here are a couple of my favourite tools to help deal with overwhelm, stress &/or anxiety. Both can be done in a matter of minutes and are simple and effective.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Just a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing, will restore balance and ease in mind and body. This tool calms the mind, reverses stress, improves focus and balances the nervous system.

How to do it;

  • Sit comfortably with a straight spine and your heart/chest ‘open’, shoulders down and relaxed.
  • Relax your left hand in your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.
  • With your right hand, put your pointer and middle fingers between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. The fingers you’ll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly to count of 5
  • Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath for a count of 5.
  • Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side to the count of 5. Pause briefly after the exhale.
  • Inhale through the right side to the count of 5.
  • Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb) for a count of 5. Open your left nostril and release breath to the count of 5 through the left side. Pause briefly after the exhale.

Repeat steps 5-9 for 4-5 minutes and notice how you feel after.

The Backward Spin

Anxiety and fear can be felt as a physical feeling in the body. Normally it’s a feeling of movement and usually it’s moving too fast. Often it can be a spinning feeling that keeps repeating within the body. This tool is useful for helping you to move out of a fearful or anxious state of mind and into a more positive and helpful state.

How to do it;

  • Locate where you feel the anxiety moving in your body and notice which way the feeling ‘spins’. You can use your hands to model the direction of the spin.
  • Next imagine that you can move the spin outside of your body. Imagine it still spinning in the same direction but it is now outside of you.
  • Once it is outside of you imagine reversing the spin in the opposite direction (and the movement of your hands if you’re using them).
  • Now imagine bringing this spin back into your body, rotating in the opposite direction. Notice how it feels different. Imagine adding some laughter to the spin (this starts to release ‘feel-good’ hormones in the body and changes the feeling even more).

These techniques are so simple that people report immediate relief and a mind shift when using them.