Tuesday 23rd July 05:09

Stress Management: Stressbusters

"Stressbusters" are exercises based on visualisation, meditation and breathing. They can be used to relieve sudden tense situations and practised as part of a daily or weekly stress management programme. They will immediately relieve over-excitement and pressure and restore you to a state of calmness and peace. Here are 5 of the best stressbusters.

1. The Cork on the Ocean

This exercise in visualisation can make you feel as if you are really floating. It is best experienced by lying on the floor with eyes closed and picturing that you are actually on a calm sea with its sounds of lapping waves and crying gulls, its salty smells and tangy tastes, its feel of total unconstrained freedom.

Imagine that you are a little cork in the middle of a large ocean. You have no direction, no goal, no compass, no rudder, no oar. You drift along on top of the water as the wind and tides take you. Whenever a swell in the waves overwhelms you, you bob back up to the surface again. Allow yourself to experience this drifting. Experience the freedom of the ocean, the warmth of the sun, the watery cushion of the sea. Stay like this for as long as you want and come back in your own time.

2. The Temple of Silence

This exercise can produce a state of instant calm and coolness.

Imagine that you are walking down the busy crowded street of a city in mid-summer. It is hot and humid. People are hurrying past in both directions; sirens screech; the air is stifling and smoky.

On a whim you turn into a less crowded side street. Here the noise is muffled. You suddenly find yourself in front of a building which looks out of place. Above the door is a sign which reads "Temple of Silence". Pushing open the heavy wooden door, you step inside and find yourself surrounded by complete silence. The air is refreshingly cool. The temple is bathed in streams of mottled sunlight from the windows. You sit down and give yourself up to the overwhelming peace.

3. The Lighthouse

This exercise can restore self-belief and self-confidence and is a source of strength in troubled times.

Visualise a small island off a large continent on which stands a rocky promontory. On this promontory is a tall sturdy lighthouse. Imagine yourself as this lighthouse. Your beams shine far out into the wide sea beyond, warning of dangers from the rocks below and protecting the people on shore. You do not bend in the strong winds or buckle under the crashing waves. Be aware of your strength and the security you offer all those who travel by.

4. Sunbeam

This exercise can increase your energy levels.

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and relax.
Imagine that you are lying on a bed with your eyes closed. A beam of sunlight comes through the window and envelopes your whole body. You then rise up and travel up the sunbeam into the heart of the sun. Imagine yourself naked. When you reach the sun, open up your arms and legs into an X shape and absorb all the health-giving energy of the sun. Feel it enter every part of your tired body, your arms and legs; your vital organs; your cells. When fully energised, imagine yourself travelling back down the sunbeam to your bed.

5. Taps

This exercise produces a feeling of unburdened lightness.

Sit comfortably; close your eyes and relax. Imagine that you are a vessel containing a beautiful heavy liquid. The taps in this vessel are at your hands and feet. A little man comes along and opens the taps at your hands. Feel the heavy liquid drain away leaving an empty space first at the top of your head, then slowly down your body. The little man then opens the taps at your feet and the liquid drains away slowly from the rest of your body.

Now practise these stressbusters regularly until you know how to use them. You will find they will never desert you and can become lifelong stress management aids. 

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