By BR Kellie
I have a little wrinkly worm that runs between my brows. It’s about an inch and a bit long. It’s a little wonky. It’s deep enough that I think botulinum toxin would have little to no impact on it. And I hate it. Mainly because I was the cause of it. You see whenever I feel angry or stressed my brows knit together, reinforcing that wrinkle. Back in the day I didn’t know how to deal with that anger and stress, hence why the wrinkle is so prominent. These days, stress still rears its ugly head and once in a blue moon I’ll get my grump on, but that wrinkle? Well it doesn’t get the chance to deepen all that often, because I’ve learnt some really easy tips to help me keep calm and carry on even when I feel like beating life over the head with a metal truncheon.
Worse thing you can say to an angry person? Breathe. But if you’re angry, breathing can help. Not just any old breathing but the deep cleansing breathing that I was taught in yoga class. Basically you sit up nice and tall and take in breath through your nose, send it down to your stomach, allow it to inflate your rib cage and chest and continue breathing in that one breath until it feels like the air has reached the back of your throat. Then slowly release that breath, imagining the stress leaving your body as you do. Rinse and repeat three times. More if you feel you need to.
Another tip I learnt in yoga was to ‘scan’ your body when you’re feeling tense about things. Basically you’re checking in with yourself. Lie down, then starting at the tips of your toes and slowing working your way up you pay attention to each and every bit of your body. If it feels tense you mentally release that tension. Sounds a little loopy, I know, but it really can make a difference to how you feel.
Speaking of lying down and releasing tension. If you’re struggling to go to sleep at night because you’re wired and your brain refuses to shush – tense your whole body up. Every single muscle. Hard as you can. Then slowly, starting from your toes go through your body relaxing each bit, piece by piece. I don’t know how this works because I’m no expert and it was taught to me by my high school media/drama/I'm-old-and-can't-remember-the-term-for-that-particular-class-because-it-was-so-long-ago teacher, but to this day over two decades later (gulp) I still use this technique and it works a treat for sending me off to sleep.
Not a fan of all this sitting still and breathing stuff? Getting active is also a great way to move on that rarr-ness. A quick storm around the block can work wonders – especially if it’s getting you away from the source of your stress.
Another way to shrug off the stress is to blast some music. A little Rage Against the Machine has seen me rail against the injustices of the world, only to come out feeling stronger and more capable of taking on whatever life wanted to throw at me. Although these days I’m more likely to throw on ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina & The Waves – fake it ‘til you make it, baby.
Speaking of waves… my last tried and true tip for saying sayonara to the rarr? Get in water or hang out by it. I swear water has the most magical healing power. When the world gets too much I run a bath and wallow in the water. If I don’t have time to bathe I jump in the shower, curl up and let the water run over me for ten minutes. If I’m nowhere near a shower or bath I find a water source, be it the ocean, harbour, lake or river and I sit next to it, watch the water drift in and out, race downstream, trickle over rocks. I take in the sound of the water, pay attention to the light dancing upon it, and after a time all the woes in the world recede. Calm is restored. And that wrinkle-worm of mine once again softens.
So those are my top tips to send away stress and to achieve victory over anger. What are your tips and tricks? Sharing is caring!
(Please note, these tips are aimed at regular stress and flashes of anger, but if you’re concerned you’re experiencing anxiety, or that the stress/anger is causing you mental or physical health issues, please see a health practitioner.)