Heart pounding, shortened breath. You know the feeling – it’s stress. The world is changing and life seems to be moving faster each moment, so it’s no wonder why more and more young people are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. But just because our culture moves a million miles and hour, that doesn’t mean your mind has to as well. The next time you’re in meltdown mode, try these simple yoga drills to clean the slate and find your zen.
Take a break from the mental chatter
When there’s a problem, the mind fixates. But focusing on the problem never leads to a solution. I repeat: the likelihood of finding a solution is not increased by obsessing. In yoga, the first step to clearing the mind is focusing on and deepening the breath. So go ahead, close your eyes take 5 deep breaths. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, then exhale for 5 seconds. When those same anxious thoughts pop back up in your mind, recognize them, but don’t give them energy. Instead, simply deepen your breath.
Rewire your brain with mantra
In yoga, reset our mental focus by choosing an intention. It is said that where our mind goes, energy flows so think of intention like a gentle mental goal. Think of a word or phrase that embodies what you want to create more of and then repeat it over and over for another few breaths.
Change up the energy
Anger, fear, anxiety, rage. They’re all emotions. And all emotions are energy in motion. Yes, it’s important to have emotional awareness and understand where your emotions stem from, but when your mind is stuck in a loop it’s time to change up the energy. By channeling our charged emotions into something physical, like yoga, exercise or a creative outlet, you’re repurposing the energy from the emotions into something productive. So if focusing on your breath isn’t enough to clear your mind, get moving! No need to have any fancy equipment. Put on some music and start moving in any way you know how. In yoga, we practice Sun Salutations as a simple way to get flowing.
The key to this is practice. So don’t stop running once you’ve found your stride. The trick is to keep practicing refocusing on healthy patterns and soon you’ll notice that either your stressful thoughts change or you just care less about them.
So if you’re finding it hard to escape stress, find your breath, choose a mantra and turn that stressful energy into something productive for you!