Sometimes I have trouble concentrating when I should be writing a paper or reading a particularly boring chapter about C++. A common solution is to listen to music, but if you’re anything like me, it just distracts you. Instead, I’ve been listening to soothing sounds on a website, iSerenity, which offers environments with a photo and soothing sounds. They have over thirty to choose from, including the ocean, a cat’s purring and rain.
Another choice is to do some meditation. And I don’t mean the stereotypical kind that makes people laugh. You can meditate and relax yourself without sitting cross-legged and without making the “Ohm” sounds. I’ve been taking Tai Chi and part of what the instructor is having us do is Chigong, which is breathing exercises to promote inner healing. There are techniques, but really, to relax yourself, you can simply close your eyes, and breath deeply. One thing I like to do is imagine where my breath is going and I can even pop my back by imagining the air expanding behind my ribs.
Even taking a simple five minute break can refresh you enough to finish your task. Sometimes I’ll take my dog for a quick walk around the apartment complex and then be ready to tackle a six page paper.
Also, not getting enough exercise (or any at all) can contribute to stress. Exercising is a natural process that helps us deal with things and keep our bodies healthy. I’m not talking about running five miles a day, but even parking further away from class and walking helps. I always park in a further lot just so I can get a little exercise on the way to class. Carrying a twenty-pound backpack does the body good.
Zen Habits has many articles about relaxation, a newer one being How to Use Mini-Meditations to Relax and Find Focus. Here is a another article by Help-Guide.org, Stress Relief: Yoga, Meditation, and Other Relaxation Techniques. It talks a little about yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and different breathing exercises that anyone can easily do to relax.