Help at hand for anyone feeling the stress of change

HOLISTIC therapist Hayley Drakes helps readers to deal with stress this month.

This time of year seems to be particularly stressful, perhaps because much change is occurring, particularly for youngsters who may be starting school for the first time, changing schools, going off to university or starting full-time work for the first time. Not only do they perhaps feel apprehensive, but parents and grandparents go through a stressful period until everyone is settled.

There are many tips I share with my holistic therapy clients to help us in stressful times and here are a couple you can try if you’re feeling a bit ‘wound up’ at the moment.

There is a place in the palm of the hand which you can massage to help reduce stress. I call it the ‘calm button’. In reflexology, this area of the hand relates to the solar plexus in the upper abdomen, which often feels tight when we are stressed. This point is situated below the middle finger and a little above the centre of the palm. Use the thumb of your opposite hand to gently press and massage this area in a circular motion. If it is comfortable for you to interlink all your fingers with your palms facing towards you, your thumb will naturally reach to the correct place on your palm to massage this ‘calm button’ on one palm and then the other.

Also, here is a simple breathing exercise to do either alongside the above exercise or on its own. If possible, sit in a quiet environment and close your eyes. If it is not possible to sit in silence, then still try this technique as it should help. As you inhale say quietly to yourself the word ‘calm’ and as you breathe out say quietly to yourself the word ‘tension’. Repeat over for as long as you need to. Focus on breathing and releasing all tension from your body. After doing this for several minutes, you should feel generally calmer. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with this pattern then revert to your usual breathing.