If you are a fan of the Seinfeld sitcom, you may be familiar with the phrase, “Serenity Now.” In the episode by the same name, George Costanza’s father, Frank, is advised by his doctor to say the phrase when he feels stressed in an effort to calm down and control his high blood pressure. However, one has to wonder if the doctor intended that the rage controlling phrase was meant to be yelled at the top of one’s lungs, as Frank demonstrates in the episode. You could say that Frank sort of missed the point. Well, if you are trying to de-stress, and have found the expression, “Serenity now” is not working no matter how hard you try, you may be pleased to know that there are more foolproof ways of achieving instant relaxation.
Put a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders. Close your eyes, letting your face, upper chest, neck, and back muscles relax. Leave the wrap on for ten minutes and then remove it. Follow it up by using a foam roller or tennis ball for massage. Cathy Benninger, nurse and practitioner instructs, “Place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the wall and hold applying gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot.”
Laugh Out Loud
Unless you want to run the risk of being labeled, “that lady (or gentlemen) in the corner office,” you may want to save this one for the ride home, or you can just hold the cell phone to your face and pretend someone has just told you something really funny. Laughing lowers cortisol, the stress hormone in your body, and boosts endorphins. Laughter can be induced by watching an amusing video or T.V. show or by reading the funnies.
Crank Up the Volume
You always feel better with your favorite times on. Research shows that listening to music can lower anxiety and reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Benninger advises, “Create a playlist of nature sounds and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece.” Or, in layman’s terms, “Play it loud!”
You know Mom always makes you feel better! Give one of your friends a call so they can remind you how fun you can be!
You don’t have to do full on cardio to get a runners high. All types of exercise, including walking and yoga, can release endorphins in the brain and ease anxiety and depression. For a quick midday de-stressor, take the stairs, walk around the block, or just stretch out with some shoulder shrugs and head rolls.
Take a little break to focus on breathing. Sit up straight with your eyes closed and place your hand on your belly. Inhale through your nose, with the breath starting in your abdomen and gradually working its way to the top of your head. Then exhale through the mouth, reversing the process. Psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD says, “Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing heart rate and lowering blood pressure.”
Let us know how you found your ‘serenity now.’