Stress gets the best of all of us. No matter how hard we may try to fight it, feeling uncertain or anxious is part of what makes us human. But just because it's totally normal doesn't mean we can't work on managing it. After all, stress can cause a whole host of problems — from weakening your immune system to lowering your productivity levels.
When your thoughts are racing, creating a mindful moment for yourself is a technique that can help recharge your energy, bringing yourself back to the here-and-now. Below, find simple ways you can ease your mind and relax your body whenever you're feeling tense.
Focus on Your Breath
Breathing deeply helps you be present and slow your mind down. Steadily inhale, then exhale. If it helps, you can say or think "in" and "out" with each breath. Bring your mind's focus to your body and feel each breath filling your lungs; note how it feels to push it back out. Tell yourself that with each exhale, you're letting go of tension — you can even visualize negative thoughts leaving your body.
Take a Mindful Shower
Transform an everyday routine into a recharging ritual with a soothing and relaxing shower to awaken your senses. Teaming up with Skintimate, mindful meditation expert Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D., has created three custom mindful shower experiences, each based off your mood and the kind of energy you're looking to cultivate. From feeling relaxed and grounded to upping your energy, each meditation is designed to be paired with a scent from Skintimate's all-new sense-drenching body-care collection.
For an ultimate soothing calm, the "Boost Your Confidence" meditation will help fill you with self-love and assurance by the time you turn your showerhead off. Start by embracing the natural light in your bathroom, maybe even opening a window to let some fresh air in. Shauna also recommends using medium warm water — perhaps a bit cooler than usual. Think of the shower as a place of safety and nourishment, if it helps, and set an intention for compassion and relaxation. According to Shauna, simply setting the intention to relax and cultivate confidence will help you do so.
As you follow Shauna's lead through each meditation, use Skintimate's complementary products to heighten your experience. The Bloom collection, featuring daydreamy notes of rose, lotus, and sandalwood, corresponds with the "Boost Your Confidence" guide. Meanwhile, the lemon and grapefruit notes in the Spark collection help invigorate your senses in the "Up the Energy" guide. For "Relax and Release," try the Root collection, which has botanic notes of sage, turmeric, and coconut.
Move your body in whatever way makes you feel good. This could mean channeling your anxious energy into an intense HIIT workout or leaving your worries behind on a run. Even just a few exercises or stretches can help ease stress and take your mind off your troubles. Try jumping jacks, a yoga flow, or simply stretching various muscle groups one by one.
Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement. Concentrate on the sound of your own breathing and close your eyes as you immerse yourself in the activity. Going for a walk can also help clear your mind and refresh your perspective. Try counting your steps; notice the rhythm of your footsteps and how it feels to put your foot on the ground and then lift it again. Look around and breathe in the fresh air.
Hold a Beloved Object
Hold an object in your hand and bring your full focus to it. It can be an item with sentimental value, maybe a gift from a loved one; an item with positive memories attached to it, such as a photograph; or simply an object that's beautiful or interesting to look at, like a gem or a crystal. Think about its texture and how it feels under your fingers or in your hand.
Trace any lines with your fingertips and feel the weight of it. Count the different colors that you see and think about what this item means to you; why is it special? If it's a photo, transport yourself back to when it was taken. What were you feeling in that moment? What did you see, smell, or taste?
Play a Mind Game
A mental-distraction exercise can help redirect your thoughts away from distressing feelings and bring you back to the present. Try testing your memory by looking at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or another busy scene) for five to 10 seconds. Then turn the photograph face down and re-create it in your mind with as much detail as possible. You can also mentally list all the things you remember from the picture.
Thinking in categories is another strategy. Choose a broad category such as mammals, sports teams, or musical instruments. Challenge yourself by taking a minute or two to mentally list as many things from each category as you can.
Even if numbers aren't your thing, they can still help center you. Try solving simple math problems or running through a multiplication table in your head. Count backward from 100 or choose a number and think of five different ways you can make that number (for example: 5 + 7 = 12, 15 - 3 = 12, 6 x 2 - 12).
Plan an Activity
If your present situation feels stressful, focus on the future and give yourself something to look forward to. Maybe that's scheduling a video chat with your best friend, or making sure you've put time aside to cook yourself a delicious meal or start reading the next novel on your list. Write these things down in a calendar to make them even more concrete and tangible. Focus on the details, such as what you'll wear, when you'll do it, and how it'll make you feel.
Counting your blessings, or even just simple things that make you smile, is an easy trick that helps put things in perspective and spark joy. You can either mentally list them or write them down, but we recommend getting as creative as you want. Use colored pens, decorate your list, keep it somewhere prominent, and refer back to it whenever you need a mental boost.
No matter how you list these favorites, visualize each of them briefly to feel even more connected to them. You can also categorize your list into groups, like foods, animals, songs, movies, books, places, and so on.