5-Minute Stress Relief: 75 Exercises to Quiet Your Mind and Calm Your Body by Elena Welsh PhD is a neat little book that breaks down how the body and mind is affected by stress and how each of these exercises can help.
As someone that operates at a very high level of stress, I grabbed a copy of this one as soon as I saw it listed in my options of free books.
Full disclosure: This book was provided to me by the publisher via Callisto Publisher’s Club in exchange for an honest review.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on 5-Minute Stress Relief by Elena Welsh PhD
In the introduction, the author recommends visiting https://mystressmanagementskills.com/ and taking a test to set a baseline with stress management. On a first pass, my Total Stress-Management Competency Score is 47%.
Here’s my score breakdown:
I clearly have work to do.
Another task was to identify your personal stressors. The items that came to mind for me immediately include:
- “Wasting Time”
- Lack of progress on my to do lists
- Toxic/rude/loud people
- Money (every now and again)
In the section where we learned a bit about the body and how it handles stress, I definitely lean more toward the emotional side of things. From the physical standpoint, I definitely get stress headaches and stress knots in my shoulders. I found it really interesting to see how similar some of these symptoms of stress align with my anxiety symptoms. It certainly makes sense that stress heightens anxiety!
Each exercise had a note on the science behind why it works, and then steps to accomplish the exercise. We had sections for quieting the mind, writing things down, calming the body, working it out,
There were quite a few exercises that I realized I already do pretty consistently:
- Pause to take deep breaths
- Look out a window – this one is really useful while working from home, not so much in our office when we’re stuck in cubicles.
- Read for pleasure – ha, obviously!
- Talk it out – major thanks to my husband, mom, friend Morgan, and my therapist for this one!
- Listen to music – nothing like listing to my heavy rock/metal playlist!
- Repeating a mantra or affirmation – I need to come up with more of these.
- Use essential oils – we have an amazing spray at work that we all use when we’re stressed or overwhelmed and it’s wonderful!
- Make a to do list – I have lists for EVERYTHING.
- Finding the silver lining
- Make a gratitude list
- Doing a body scan – I learned this lovely trick from my yoga teacher, Chris!
- Have a cup of tea – This is a constant thing for me!
From the list of 75, there are a few I marked to try or to do more frequently, those included:
- Listening to guided meditations – I really want to try this!
- Engage in encouraging self-talk – I’ve been bad at this in the past, but I am trying to work on it.
- Do a word puzzle – I love puzzles! I need to do this more often.
- Asking myself why something is stressful – I never do this and I need to start!
- Organizing one small area – far too often I start a project but can’t stop with one small thing. It has to be a whole production.
- Doing yoga/taking walks/taking the stairs – all are pretty consistent things for me, but with the warmer weather coming up, I’m looking forward to getting outside more!
- Cleaning– there were so many items on the “Home” list that involved cleaning. When I’m stressed, I DEFINITELY stress-clean. I need to work on re-framing this into a more positive thing.
Of course, there were many exercises listed that just don’t work for me personally (like any type of visualization practice such as imagining my thoughts to be clouds going by in the sky, looking five years ahead, singing, coloring, giving myself a love note, giving a friend a hug, etc.), but I thought they were interesting to read about!
My Final Thoughts on 5-Minute Stress Relief
It was nice for me to see that some of the things I already practice are healthy ways to deal with stress, while learning that I need to tweak a few things to make them help relieve stress rather than add to it.
Overall, definitely a read I would recommend for anyone that needs to work on their stress!
This could also be a very useful book if you wanted to keep it stashed on your desk to pick it up and try an exercise here and then if work is one of your biggest stressors.
Snag a copy using my Amazon Affiliate link or inquire at your local indie:
Thanks for reading!