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5 Powerful Stress-Busters


With Suzy Reading, Chartered Psychologist, Coach and Mental Health Author

If you find it difficult to switch off and relax, you’re not alone. Often, the things that we associate with rest and stress relief like meditation and breathing exercises can feel tricky when our minds are running at full speed and our bodies are full of nervous energy.

If this sounds like you, try these 5 powerful stress-busters as recommended by Suzy Reading, Chartered Psychologist, coach, and mental health author. They might be a little different from what you were expecting, but we promise that they’re worthwhile.

Stop trying to relax (yes, really!)

Yes, you read that right! It’s totally natural to try to relax when you feel your stress levels starting to rise, but have you noticed how hard it can be to soften your body into stillness?

Let’s try turning this on its head and using gentle movement as a gateway to relaxation. Sometimes, a little exertion is just the thing we need to help us let go.

Give this a try: in stillness, relax your shoulders as much as you can, letting them just drop away from your ears. Now, squeeze your shoulders up to your ears as you breathe in, then drop your shoulders with a sigh through your mouth as you exhale – notice how much more relaxed you feel after the shrug and sigh!

For other ways you can use movement to help you destress, listen to this short video below, or check out Suzy’s book Rest to Reset for 25 different soothing toolkits that will help you weave restorative moments into even the busiest of days.



Breathe better to feel better, but don’t do it on its own

We all know that by smoothing out the breath we can feel calmer, but perhaps you’ve also noticed that when you’re feeling agitated, just thinking about the breath let alone trying to manipulate it can amplify anxiety.

To soothe the mind and body, we still need to elongate the breath but don’t do it solo – instead, try to pair the breath with movement and focus your mind on the sensation of moving your body.

Not sure how to do this? Not to worry – try the mountain breath or “chicken wing shoulder rolls” as demonstrated in this below video!


By calming the breath, we’re able to reduce stress while also getting the added mood-boosting properties of movement.

Try face yoga

When you combine the day-to-day stimulation of screen time, unrevealed facial expressions and unspoken words, this can cause a lot of tension in the muscles of our face, particularly in the jaw and eye area.

Once your day has drawn to a close, try showing yourself a little tenderness and compassion with some face yoga.

This can be a powerful antidote to stress and perfect for when you’re squeezed for time. These mini rituals can be done in less than 60 seconds – just follow along to this guided face yoga session in this video below.


You may also want to try this effective hack to calm your nervous system: run your tongue around your top row of teeth 10 times in each direction and feel the relief this brings. You can find out how this works in this super-quick video below.


Talk to yourself

Coaxing self-talk can make all the difference to our ability to navigate stress; while you’re talking to your nervous system with this physical practice, try consciously speaking to yourself with gentle inner dialogue.

Research shows that calling yourself by a pet name rather than “you” or “I” can naturally help us to generate kinder self-talk. If you find this hard, try not to let it be another thing to beat yourself up over.

Now lie down

After you’ve released all of the tension and pent-up energy in your mind and body and finished up with your positive self-talk, you’ll likely now feel ready to sink into complete stillness.

However, don’t just flop on the sofa and scroll on your phone. Instead, lie down with your legs up against the wall. By elevating the legs, this can help to redistribute blood flow to your vital organs, making it even more restorative than just lying down. This can just be 5 minutes of flopping and dropping – nothing fancy is required and there’s no pressure to fall asleep.

Keep your mind anchored on a soothing mantra such as “I am softening into this moment” or “the world can wait”. Let the rejuvenation begin and know that just as your depletion serves no one, your replenishment serves everyone!

For the magic trick on how to get your legs up the wall, watch the video below, and for 50 calming mantras, check out Suzy’s book The Little Box of Self-Care.

About Suzy Reading

Suzy is a mother of two, an author, Chartered Psychologist and Coach. She specialises in self-care and helping people manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance.

It was her life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of her father that sparked her passion for self-care which she now teaches to her clients, both young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges.


You can join Suzy’s Wellbeing Community at:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/suzyreading/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SuzyReadingPsychologyAndYoga/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzyReading

Website: www.suzyreading.co.uk

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Weighted Blanket

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