Smile, breathe, sit straight: 5 ways to stay calm and happy

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 24, 2015 17:21 IST

This is for all of you who can’t stop cribbing about work-life imbalance in your life. If you think you never get time for yourself in between your busy schedule in office, running errands and meeting all kinds of deadlines at home, here are 5 ways to ensure you keep smiling all through the day.

1. Smile anyway

Believe it or not, flashing a smile could keep you calm and cool, even if nobody’s around to see it. Consider it a smile just for you. On the flipside, try smiling in a social or professional situation even if you have to fake it. Not only can it reduce your stress, but it could put those around you at ease, thereby making a potentially complicated situation easier to handle.

2. Breathe always

Start by engaging diaphragm breathing. Have you ever noticed how the lower tummies of newborn babies rise up and down with each breath, probably more so than yours? That’s because they use their entire diaphragm to breathe, yet this way of breathing becomes voluntary as we grow older. Place a hand over your mid to lower abdomen and breathe deeply until you feel it rise and fall. This deep breathing allows more oxygen into your lungs and subsequently your blood, leading to calm.

3. Instead of a coffee break, take a break from coffee

It’s tempting to reach for a cup of java when you’re facing what seems like a mountain of work, but the stimulant’s effect could cause you to feel even more overwhelmed. Switch it out for hot water with lemon juice, which is thought to have a detoxifying effect on the body.

4. Sit up straight, and stay there

Good posture is essential for a healthy body, helping you avoid injury during sports and fitness routines. It also encourages proper breathing, so it can help eliminate headaches provoked by insufficient oxygen intake. Sitting up straight for extended periods might be difficult if you’re not used to it, but it has the added benefit of working your core muscles if you don’t rest your back against your chair.

5. Find a yoga class that suits your passion, or your demons

Yoga is well known to decrease stress and the practice now has a class themed just around every possible objective. For example, if you like fashion and style, try Voga. You’ll find yoga classes geared towards improving performance in sports from surfing to skiing to occupy your time in the off-season. If you have a specific health concern, such as sciatica or arthritis, knee pain or neck pain, you’ll likely find a yoga class for that, but talk to your doctor first.

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