Managing Stress

Techniques to Master Stress Management

Technique 1: Meditation

  • This is most effective way to relax / reduce stress
  • It helps to focus our thoughts on one relaxing thing / thought / idea for sustained period.
  • It rests our mind by diverting it from thinking about problems that have caused stress.
  • It gives time to our body to relax, recuperate, clear away toxins that have accumulated / built up through physical / mental stress

Meditation is particularly useful where:

  • We have been under long term stress
  • We have been under short term stress which has caused release of adrenaline into our blood stream
  • We have been constantly worrying over real / imagined problems
  • We have physically over exerted ourselves

Benefits of Meditation

  • Slows breathing
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps muscles to relax
  • Removes lactic acid and other toxins from our body
  • Reduces anxiety / irritability / stress headaches
  • Eliminates / minimizes negative thoughts
  • Helps clear / rational thinking
  • Helps concentration

Method of Meditation

Mind and breath are closely linked, affecting each other i.e. breath is gross manifestation of mind, therefore “Pranayam” has been given great importance in any form of meditation among various religions.

  • Sit in a comfortable position / pose (sitting supine)
  • Focus attention on breathing
  • Do not forcefully increase or slow down your breathing
  • Let it happen naturally

Technique 2: Breathing Control / Relaxation

It is a very effective method of relaxation. Stress and rapid / shallow breathing is inter linked. Deeper / abdominal breathing does calm down agitated mind and stressed personality (“Taking ten deep breaths”)

Method of Breathing Control / Relaxation

  1. Lie down, tell your body to relax / cool down
  2. Be mentally alert; observe thought parade
  3. Sleep, but do not sleep (listen to your heart beats)
  4. Do this at least for 15 minutes every day; increase the duration gradually
  5. Use of dim lights, curtains on, soothing instrumental music are useful tools to increase impact of engineering

Benefits of Breathing Control / Relaxation

  • Brings down pulse rate
  • Reduces anxiety impact
  • Lowers heightened blood pressure
  • Energizes all systems in the body
  • Gives feeling of cheer and overall being
  • Meditation of 15-30 minutes gives rest equivalent to 6 hours sleep

Technique 3: Mental Imagery

Believe it or not, there is a safe and inexpensive way to improve your health. It requires no drugs. It does not involve expensive technology. Instead, it employs the considerable power of your own mind. It is a mental process used to promote changes in attitude, behavior and physiological reactions. It has been used successfully as a part of treatment for a variety of illnesses, especially conditions such as depression, which are caused or aggravated by stress.

Method of Mental Imagery

  • Sit in a comfortable position away from distraction
  • Mentally scan your body. Envision that you are gathering all aches, pain and tension and rolling them into ball
  • What color is the ball? It is red or orange, switch that image
  • Imagine that the ball bathed in soothing color mist and turn shade of blue or green.
  • Let the ball grow bigger and bigger.
  • Then, watch the ball as it slowly shrinks until it almost disappears
  • Imagine the ball is moving away from your body
  • Imagine yourself throwing the ball in the trash.

Benefit of Mental Imagery

  • Medical research suggests that positive mental imagery can promote healing.
  • Mental imagery can help a variety of medical conditions, including:
    • Chronic pain
    • Allergies
    • High blood pressure
    • Irregular heart beat
    • Auto-immune disorders
    • Cold and flu symptoms

Technique 4: Exercise At Work Place

  1. Ankle Circles: Lift feet off the floor. Draw a circle with the toes, simultaneously moving one foot clockwise and the other foot counterclockwise. Reverse circles. Do each direction for 15 seconds. Repeat if desired.
  2. Foot Pumps: Foot motion is in three stages. Start with both heels on the floor and point feet upward as high as you can. Put both feet flat on the floor. Lift heels high, keeping balls of feet on the floor. Continue these three stages with continuous motion in 30-second intervals.
  3. Knee Lifts: Lift leg with knee bent while contracting your thigh muscle. Alternate legs. Repeat 20-30 times for each leg.
  4. Neck Roll: With shoulders relaxed, drop ear to shoulder and gently roll neck forward and back, holding each position about five seconds. Repeat five times
  5. Knee To Chest: Bend forward slightly. Clasp hands around the left knee and hug it to your chest. Hold stretch for 15 seconds. Keeping hands around the knee slowly let it down. Alternate legs. Repeat 10 times.
  6. Forward Flex: With both feet on the floor and stomach held in, slowly bend forward and walk your hands down the front of your legs toward your ankles. Hold stretch for 15 seconds and slowly sit back.
  7. Shoulder Roll: Hunch shoulders forward, then upward, then backward, then downward, using a gentle circular motion.
  8. Finger / Toe Stretch: Clench fingers inward toward palms, and then stretch outward. Repeat several times. Do the same with toes.
  9. Ankle Rotation: A statement of closure softens the climate and indicates satisfaction with outcome

Technique 5: Exercises for Stress Relief (Yoga)

Yoga Exercise 1 – The Backward Hand Press

  1. Sit with the spine straight.
  2. Reach the hands behind the back.
  3. First touch the fingers, then try to press the palms together.
  4. Lift the hands up as high on the back as is comfortable for you.
  5. Hold for as long as is comfortable the release.


This compresses the shoulder muscles and should be followed by shoulder lift exercise.

Yoga Exercise 2 – The Bent Arm Stretch Pose:

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Arms at your side bend your elbows keep the palms up and touch your thumb and fingers.
  3. Try to keep the forearms parallel to the floor.
  4. INHALE move your elbows backward while simultaneously lifting your head up.
  5. Hold your breath for five seconds. Close your elbows behind you.
  6. You should feel your shoulder muscles contracting.
  7. EXHALE as you move the elbows forward until they are level with your shoulders simultaneously drop your head forward and place your chin on your chest.
  8. You should feel the stretch now in your neck and shoulders.
  9. Come back to center position and INHALE that is one round do tree rounds.


  • This exercise is one in a series designed to relieve stress and tension from the middle of your shoulders and the nape of the neck.
  • By contracting and stretching these areas tension is released from the whole body

Yoga Exercise 3 – The Extended Arm Stretch Pose:

  1. Bring your arms up to your sides, palms facing down.
  2. Keep your arms always at shoulder height.
  3. INHALE twist to your right and look at your right hand.
  4. Hold for several seconds the EXHALE and twist to your left and look at your left hand.
  5. Come back to center and INHALE now reverse the twist and turn to the left.
  6. Repeat twice.


  • This exercise is one in a series designed to relieve stress and tension from the middle of your shoulders and the nape of the neck.
  • By contracting and stretching these areas tension is released from the whole body

Yoga Exercise 4 – The Downward Facing Dog

This posture stretches and contracts the muscles in the middle of your shoulders and the nape of the neck but it also releases tension in the whole spinal column.

Yoga Exercise 5 – The Child Pose Variation

Sit on your legs, arms by your side, head down on the floor, with the forehead on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your back and lay the arms on your back. INHALE and lift up your buttocks keeping the head and forehead touching the floor. Roll onto the crown of the head and lift your buttocks straight up, now lift your arms up off your back, keeping the hands clasped, let the arms drop behind the back, You should feel the contraction in the shoulder muscles. EXHALE and release slowly. Place the arms gently back onto the back and resume original child pose. Rest and repeat one more time.


This exercise is one in a series designed to relieves stress and tension from the middle of your shoulders and the nape of the neck. By contracting and stretching these areas, tension is released from the whole body.

Yoga Exercise 6 – The Full Prone Stretch

Start by laying on your back on the floor. INHALE, then Stretch your arms up over your head bringing the palms of the hand together. Look up. Your legs are stretched out with the toes pointing away from the body. Now EXHALE. Bend both knees and bring them into your chest. Simultaneously bring your arms down and wrap them around your knees and lift your head up and press your chin into your chest. Exhale completely. This constitutes one round. Do three rounds.


Releases tension from the entire body and brings an intense stretch to the front and back of the body.

Yoga Exercise 7 – Knee Squeeze Stretch Variation

Lie on the floor on your back. INHALE then EXHALE. Bent one knee; lift it up to the chest while simultaneously lifting up your head and pressing the chin into the chest. Wrap your arms around the knee and squeeze. INHALE and release; lay down; rest a few moments and do the same with your other leg. This constitutes one round; do two rounds.


This stretches the muscles of the neck and shoulder area. It also relieves tension in the legs.

Yoga Exercise 8 – The Shoulder Lift

Lift your shoulder up towards your ears hold for several breaths; then push them away from the ears; hold for several breaths


This exercise is one in a series designed to relieve stress and tension from the middle of your shoulders and the nape of the neck. By contracting and stretching these areas tension is released from the whole body.

Yoga Exercise 9 – Reclining Side Twist

Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and your heels next to your buttocks; bring your arms up to shoulder level, palms down. Head faces forward with the chin down slightly. Keep the knees together if possible INHALE then EXHALE and allow the legs to drop to one side twisting the spine at the waist. Simultaneously turn your head in the opposite direction while trying to keep both shoulders firmly planted on the floor. Hold for several breaths. Then INHALE and lift the legs up to the original position and return the head to face forward. Repeat on the other side for one round; do this twice.


This exercise stretches the neck and shoulder muscles and gives an excellent twist to the whole spine, great for menstrual cramps as well.

Yoga Exercise 10 – Prone Half Lotus Pose

Lay on the floor. Bend both knees, placing the heel of the foot next to the buttocks. Lift your arms up clasp the hands together and lay the hands palms up behind the neck. Now cross the right leg over the left leg. INHALE then EXHALE as you lift your legs and head up to meet each other. Bring the elbow in and press the chin against the chest. INHALE and release; this should be repeated with the other leg which constitutes one round. Do two rounds.


This exercise is one in a series designed to relieve stress and tension from the middle of your shoulders and the nape of the neck. By contracting and stretching these areas, tension is released from the whole body.