When we are feeling tension, or stress, it is important to have a healthy outlet to relieve that stress. To rest your mind, here are a few tactics that have been proven to work to get a mental reset.
Set a timer. Before you begin a stressful task, set a time for one hour so that you can leave your computer or desk and take a break. During that break, take a walk, drink some water, stretch, and relax. This will refresh your mind and your body and you will be rested and ready to concentrate when you return to your work.
Picture yourself relaxed and rested. Take a couple of deep breaths and stretch. Focus your attention to your body and how relaxed it is. With a bit of practice, you will experience your mind getting focused.
Think of stress as fleeting. If a loop of negative, distracting thoughts are part of your stress, allow yourself to think of them as “here and gone.” Remind yourself that any thought that stays must pass eventually. Release distracting thoughts by simply repeating to yourself, “This too shall pass."
Here's a thoughtful breathing exercise that you may find useful for releasing tension and reducing stress:
1. Take a comfortable seat, close your eyes, and focus on your breath as it goes in and out.
2. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Feel your breath fill your lungs, feel your belly rise as you inhale. Place a hand on your belly to help you feel the rise and fall of deep belly breaths.
3. Release the breath and notice the sensation as all of the air leaves your body. Repeat this 2 to 3 times to bring your attention inward.
4. Start to become aware of your body on your chair. Notice the different parts of your body and as you do, notice if there are feelings of tension or comfort in those areas.
5. Find an area of your body that feels the most tension—necks and shoulders are common sites—and focus your attention in this area.
6. As you breathe in, imagine you’re breathing all of the air into this body part. Hold the breath for a count of 3 seconds.
7. As you breathe out, imagine that the tension leaves your body with the air that you are exhaling.
8. Continue to breathe air into this area of tension for 10 more breathss
9. As you let out the tenth breath, notice your body again and pay special attention to this body part.
Every time you notice that you’ve been distracted, bring your attention to your breathing. This kind of brain training has been shown to have a demonstrable positive effect on our ability to focus.