This week's feature story, "Shall We Trance?" by Amber Taufen profiles Lisa Wimberger, who teaches cops how to de-stress for success.
Here, Wimberger offers up these ways to de-stress after a hard day -- ideas around her top five to-dos.
Story by Wimberger, illustrations by Jay Vollmar.
1. Breathe Two solid minutes of breathing exercises just after work and before going home, or just after an intense interaction. Begin by breathing in with an audible breath, similar to the sound of the ocean as the air passes through the throat. The first few breaths in last for the slow count of three, the exhales are equal in duration. Gently increase the duration of each inhale/exhale up to a comfortable seven or eight count. After two full minutes the nervous system should be more relaxed.
2. Shake Imagine the particular stressors of the day and while thinking of these, shake your hands, shoulders and legs as though you are shaking off a swarm of bees. Do this for at least two minutes. You may feel awkward or embarrassed, but shaking like this while activating stress helps dissipate the adrenaline levels in our body associated with that event. It leaves the body feeling calmer, and helps bring down adrenaline and cortisol levels.
3. Visualize Take five or ten minutes to sit comfortably for this visualization. Imagine yourself at a beach, by yourself, with the perfect climate, surroundings, etc. Approach the water's edge. As you slowly walk into the ocean, allow the motion of the tide to wash through your feet, taking with it any stress from the day. Slowly imagine yourself walking deeper and deeper into the ocean -- each time washing away the stress from your body. Eventually, you can float yourself in the ocean, imagining yourself to be weightless and totally relaxed. Don't do this exercise if you have negative associations with the beach. Choose a different location and a different method of washing away. Examples: Forest hike, the sunlight through the leaves washes away the stress, etc.
4. Tumeric Snack on blueberries, use coconut oil in your salads at least once a day, eat foods rich in turmeric, consume foods rich in DHA -- all of this should be cleared by a doctor if you have any medical conditions. These foods boost your body's ability to combat cellular damage due to stress.
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5. Mantra Choose a phrase, mantra, meditation that feels good to you and repeat that phrase to yourself during times of stress or at the end of each day. Examples: the stress in my life is the product of my thoughts; I am in control of my thoughts; where am I making room for this to get better; how is this situation teaching me, etc.
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