Are you so stressed out at work that you do not even have time to think about relaxing? Are the demands at work building up fast and causing you to feel overwhelmed? Are you so busy you do not have time to learn a new stress management strategy?

Here are three quick, easy and very effective relaxation exercises that can lower your blood pressure, help you “cool off,” remember what it’s like to feel calm again, and get your focus and attention back. Concentration, good energy and a positive outlook are all part of the equation that results in successful leadership and productivity at work.

There are some general guidelines to follow for the most successful meditations. Locate a quiet place such as your cubicle, the bathroom, or sitting in your car. Turn off your phone for these 5-minute meditations. Sit calmly with good posture so you can easily breathe deeply. Filling up your lungs with air and gently releasing it is one of the pieces of magic that makes mediation work. Sit in a position that is comfortable but not so comfortable that you might fall asleep. Take a couple deep breathes and gently close your eyes (of course, you have pulled over to a side street if you are in your car). Now begin one of the following meditations.

1. Moving Band Meditation (used to relax your muscles): Imagine that a three-inch-wide band encircles the top of your head. Focus your attention on that part of your head which is surrounded by the imaginary band. Notice the sensations. Is there any tension in your forehead? If so, try to relax it. Are there any other sensations in this area? Briefly, focus on them. In your imagination, move the rubber band slowly down your body, noting each sensation, experiencing all the points of tension and letting them go. Move the band down your torso and arms to your legs. When the band is around your chest, imagine that it goes around one arm, across your upper body, around the other arm, than across you back. Notice the sensations and let go of any tensions. Continue to breathe evenly. Some people like to imagine that the band is a band of light which represents energy.

2. Mindfulness Eating (helps with focus and concentration): Select part of your lunch or snack as your meditation target—such as a cracker, olive, or orange slice. Before you put it in your mouth, not the color, shape and texture. Does it look appetizing to you? Do you notice any reactions in your body when you look at it? Does your mouth water? Does your stomach growl? Notice what is happening in your body. Move your hand slowly toward your mouth with your food. Take a moment to smell the food as it approaches your nose. Just notice. As you place the food in your mouth, notice all the sensations. Where is the food positioned in your mouth? What happens with your tongue? What tastes are you experiencing? Where on your tongue do you taste the different flavors? When you decide to chew, notice how the texture of your food changes. Notice the placement change of the food in your mouth. When you decide to swallow, notice all the changes that take place in your mouth and throat. Can you feel the food item moving down toward your stomach? What do you notice in your stomach now? Sit for another few seconds and notice any other changes in your body.

3. Take Control (feeling confident and capable): In your mind’s eye, remember a situation that you find to be stressful or difficult. Begin to see yourself handling that stressful situation successfully, confidently. See yourself saying and doing the appropriate thing to succeed. See yourself smiling, standing or sitting erectly, with dignity. Then, imagine yourself wavering or making a small mistake. You become unsure of yourself for just a moment. But then you decide to go on, confidently finishing the task. You remind yourself: “I am in control. I can do what needs to be done in this situation.” Enjoy this success and notice how it feels.

You might be able to think of a variation of one of these meditations that is even more helpful. Let your creative mind provide more examples. Recent research in brain functioning tells us that when you think about something, another part of your mind believes it to be real. On a hot day, when you think of a cool or even cold breeze, you can reduce your experience of heat. You can use your own brain power for greater relaxation, stress management, and feelings of confidence.

Look for a meditation center in your city to learn more methods for calming. In my work in North St. Paul, MN, I have helped numerous individuals learn these and other meditations. If you would like further assistance in managing stress during this time of change, check out my website: www.PamLipe.com.

Author's Bio: 

Pam Lipe is a psychologist at Relationship Therapy of St. Paul where she does individual and couples psychotherapy. She received her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Illinois State University. She has been trained in Mindfulness Meditation and Qigong. Her therapy practice is in North St. Paul, MN. You can contact her for individual help with anxiety at 651-414-9793.