Here’s a very appealing word: “relax." It even has a nice sound to it when you say it out loud, slowly: reeee-laaxxxx. Stretch it out, elongate. That’s what we’d like to do in our lives with relaxation as well—stretch it! More, I want it. You want it. It's something we all need more of, relief from the stresses and tensions and anxieties of everyday living. These stresses are ever present and can take an enormous toll on our physical and emotional well-being, can even lead to illness.

Here are a few tips/ideas for utilizing the power of your own mind and imagination to reduce stress. They'll help you to achieve relaxation, physical rejuvenation, peaceful and optimistic feelings, and clarity of thought and focus.

A favorite technique, which I utilize in my hypnotherapy practice: breathe out a negative, breathe in a positive. This is an exercise in imagination. Sit comfortably and allow your body to relax, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for a few minutes--in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe in a positive feeling: such as relaxation, or calm or contentment, breathe out a negative feeling: like stress, anger, or resentment. Imagine breathing in a golden light that moves and fills you, breathing out a dark smoke. You'll find that the good feelings spread and permeate throughout your entire body.

Here is a tried and true, wonderful stress releaser: fresh air, and exercise! Go for a half hour walk outdoors. There are sure to be some great places for this in your neighborhood. Focus on nature, the beauty of the scenery, the sky, and let the fluid motion of your body calm and relax you and bring bright pleasant thoughts to the forefront.

How is that hypnotic, you might ask? As you’re walking, program your mind in new ways. Think of reasons why you CAN do something, rather than why you can't. Focus on what you want, not what you don't want. This shift in attitude will break the negative loops going on in your mind, and allow you to see positive approaches and solutions. Also, avoid the word "try" in your mind and your language. "Trying" implies failure. Imagine your goal as fully accomplished, don't "try," DO.

As a wise, wise man once said, “Drive your own bus.” Take responsibility for your own feelings, your emotions. Other people and external forces can't "make you" feel a certain way. You hold that power and freedom for yourself. You're not a victim. You choose how you want to feel. Choose to feel wonderful. I particularly like the expression: “like water off a duck’s back.” Focus your imagination on the duck image, imagine you have that resiliency yourself. Let the anxieties and negative emotions roll off you, they’re a liquid and you’re water repellant!

Or you might imagine your worries floating away. Blow on a dandelion flower and watch the spores fly and imagine that those are your worries on the breeze, vanishing! Here’s another image to use: either in your mind or in reality, write out your worries, the things that are causing you stress. Write them on a piece of paper, then roll it up and attach that paper to a helium balloon. Now, let it fly! Watch it rising and lifting, getting smaller and smaller, and less significant. Finally, it’s a mere dot, a speck in the distance, then, it’s gone! Your problems will become more remote, too.

Author's Bio: 

Connie Brannan is a Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapist and Licensed Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming™, certified Stage Hypnotist, and co-creator of Mindworks Hypnosis, a therapy practice in the Seattle, Washington, area. She is a published author and creator of several self-help audio hypnosis products, a speaker and a teacher. She is a member in good standing of professional organizations including the National Guild of Hypnotists, the International Hypnosis Association, and the Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming™.