Posted on Jun 7th, 2006

Best Rx? Quick Strategies to Handle Small Hassles!

The Four S Strategy! What is the Four S strategy for quickly handling stress! Smile. Slack. Sag. Smooth.

Smile and make your eyes sparkle. (Maybe think of your kids.) Take a deep breath.

Slack your jaw. Do it. Release the tension held in the jaw. Take a deep breath.

Sag your shoulders. Take a deep breath

Smooth your forehead. Take a deep breath.

Smiling breaks the tension in facial muscles, as does letting the jaw hang slack. (Go through the day with some space between your upper and lower teeth.)

Sagging the shoulders relaxes tension held there also.

Smoothing the forehead may be the toughest of the four to do.

Now, how fast did you resume your old tension?

Breath! Breathe in to a count of three, hold it for three seconds, exhale to a count of three. As you breathe in, think the word "Calm."

Shallow breathing actually enhances an adrenalin/cortisol endocrine bath for body, so I have the hormonal platform online for an over reaction to something my children do, for example. Breathing deeply changes that hormonal bath to DHEA, the anti-aging hormone.

Cool Air In, Warm Air Out. Close your eyes, and become aware of your breath passing the tip of your nose. Become aware of your breath moving into your nostrils and the sensations of your breath moving out of your nostrils.

Is the air coming in a bit cooler than the air being exhaled?

Be aware of cool air in, warm air out.

Can you feel loose and heavy while doing this?

Break up the long chain of stressful thoughts, and change your feeling.

Repeat frequently.

Heavy Feet Take a short period of time to imagine your feet (or your hands, or both your feet and your hands) becoming heavier and warmer. Imagine that heaviness and warmth spreading throughout your body.

Change the thought to change the feeling.

Remember the brain creates an interpretation of sensory data in 1/18th second, so many relaxing thoughts like these need not take us away from our daily chores, and they sure can make a difference in our energy levels.

Breathing Tension Away. Close your eyes and focus your mind on legs and feet. (Are you sitting at your computer?) Take a slow deep breath and imagine all the tensions in your legs and feet being drawn up into the lungs, and imagine expelling the tensions with your exhale.

Then take a second deep breath, and imagine all the tensions in your hands, arms, and trunk being drawn into your lungs, to be expelled with the exhale.

Do the same with shoulders, neck and head.

Breath away all your tensions.

Take as many breaths as you need to clear your body.

Now you can breath in a color you like, and let it spread throughout your body.

Diaphragmatic Breathing. This strategy will get your belly button moving. Stand or sit straight and put one hand on your chest and the other on your navel.

Now breath in so the hand on your belly button moves out. When you exhale the hand on your belly button should move in, and the hand on your chest should not move much.

(Mantak Chia refers to this exercise in his book, "The Multi-Orgasmic Man".) With practice you can begin to breath so that the lower lungs are filled first, and then the upper lungs, and the exhale will follow.

Deep breathing allows the body to more effectively remove toxins. If toxins are not removed effectively, they can become stress inducing by themselves.

Couple your stressful thinking and toxins, and you have a recipe for disease.

Breathe Through Tension. Gently focus attention on a tense area of your body. Imagine breathing fresh air to that spot.

Exhale the air and imagine tension from that spot leaving the area.


Add color and the Four S’s.

Create Your Own Breathing Visualization. Many brief relaxations reduce the cumulative impact of stress while actually increasing productivity. However, I know that as a young man I was taught that when the going gets tough, the tough get rigid, which is not quite what that old saying was about.

The way to handle stress is with flexibility and relaxation which can happen as often as every other breath, depending on how sophisticated I choose to be.

Awareness gives me choice.

Now how fast did you pick your tension back up?

My name is Michael Logan. I am a 57 year old father of a seven year old boy and a one and one-half year old daughter. So I am grandfather age and changing diapers too. I am a husband, and a business owner, a mid-life career changer, who is partnering with Julie in the creation of Logan Family Counseling.

I believe deeply in the process of change, having done it myself, and I am blessed to be able to walk with other folks who are deeply involved in the transformative process. We invite your response.

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