A smile works as easily to change your emotional state, with the added bonus of receiving one in return. The mere physical act generates a good feeling. Take a moment to feel the difference between a frown and a smile. No matter your mood, your body will respond. Now bring these three practices together, relaxing your eyes, smiling and listening to your breath. Do this, not for a second before continuing on, but all day, every day. Should this really be called a practice per se or is it a normal expression of a happy individual, relaxed, smiling and breathing deeply? Either way, one begets the other, and the switches begin to respond instantaneously in any situation.
If losing a few pounds has you stressed, heed this: Relax, don’t worry, and treat your stomach gently. In the West we say, “I worried myself sick,” which means you overate or couldn’t eat at all. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it specifically states that worry and excess thinking harms digestion. Such an irony, as we are taught to obsess about diet and nutrition for the sake of our health, when in fact we are making ourselves sick. So the first rule of eating and weight management is to think and worry less.
Treating your stomach gently comes in many forms. The easiest way to lose weight and to improve your health is to avoid drinking iced beverages, particularly with your meal. Why, because the stomach must heat up to 100 degrees to properly digest food. If you chill it with a 32 degree glass of water, it will go into overdrive and swing like a pendulum, overheating your stomach and make you feel hungry. Yes, the brain registers heat in the stomach as hunger, and iced drinks will both weaken your digestion and make you overeat. If you must cool down, suck on some ice, preferably between meals.
For another de-stressing exercise, try these switches wired into every one of us. Close your eyes. Smile. Gently roll your eyes toward the crown of your head without any tension. Tilt your head back then repeatedly raise your brow as if you are trying to lift your mood. Scan inside your head to where it feels dark or tense. Continue this until your mood lightens and you begin to feel elated if not high, except without the hangover. If you are really stressed, this might make you cry at first but that is actually good. Tears are just one more hard-wired mechanism designed to help release anxiety.
Lastly, I like to use visualization to prepare myself for stressful events. Begin by imagining a complete and utter catastrophe, an epic disaster fit for the movies and smile through it all, smiling until you truly feel happy. Now clear away that picture and imagine the perfect outcome, coming off without a hitch.