It’s one thing to just tell yourself to take it easy and it’s another to actually take steps to reduce the things in your life that are causing your stress.  So here are seven things you can do right now:

1.  Take a deep breath.  You probably have done some deep breathing exercises in your martial training.  Apply it to your life outside the dojo as well and stop to breathe deeply for a minute or so whenever you feel the stress getting to you.  You know to breathe in through the nose, all the way to your belly, hold it, and then exhale slowly through your mouth.  When you breathe out, feel your muscles relax.

2.  Take a break.  If a few breaths don’t do the trick, just get up and move around (except if you’re driving on the highway, of course).  Stop that multi-tasking for awhile.  When you consciously slow down your mind as well as your body, you will relax.  If you schedule breaks in your workday, you’ll begin to look forward to and enjoy them even more.

3.  Think happy thoughts.  Again, your physical body actually responds to your thoughts.  Thinking about something you really enjoy will change the currents in your brain and enable you to smile and de-stress, if only momentarily.

4.  Change the tape.  We often replay a negative message to ourselves.  “I’ll never get this project done on time,” “This situation is hopeless,” Remember the little engine that could?  Start thinking positively, “I can do this.”

5.  Go work out.  Exercise releases good chemicals that make you feel better.  If you cannot put on your gi and start kicking, just take a brisk walk around the block.

For more on stress reducing techniques, see the continuation of this article in the June issue of The Magazine of Santa Clarita.

For more information, please contact Santa Clarita Karate at 661-296-0911.