Two Quick Stress Management Techniques

Simple Techniques for dealing with stress

How can the act of observing your breathing or feeling your pulse make a difference in your emotional state?

Find out by applying these two simple techniques. Learn to redirect your attention from the stress, to the relaxation. Practice bringing calm into the moment.

Part 1: Watching your breath

Place your attention on the in and the out breath until you feel calm.
Do not force yourself to be calm but merely attend to your breathing.

Part 2: Observing the Radial Pulse

Cradle one wrist in the palm of the other hand. Place three fingers on the radial pulse. Notice. Likely one finger feels the pulse more strongly than the other two. Wait and watch as the pulse comes to balance in all three fingers.

These two techniques are offered to assist you when feeling anxious or stressed. They are powerful in skimming away daily tension. They offer a reminder of what being calm feels like and can help motivate you to search for and release the source of the tension.

These two techniques are less useful when in extreme stress. Like taking an aspirin, they do not address the root of the problem – your thoughts and your beliefs about it.

Read Transcript:

Show »

Hello and Welcome. I am Ellen Sutherland and we are Being Spiritual.

It seems to me that people are a little bit tense these days and I have a number of wonderful little practices that help decrease some of these tensions. They are much like taking an aspirin, they don’t go to the root of it, they don’t go to your thoughts but they certainly decrease the tension and help you feel better for the moment…until such time that perhaps you want to address what it is you are thinking that is causing this stress.

Part 1 – Watching your Breath

The first one is simple, very simple. People don’t use it nearly enough and that is to be aware of and attend to your breathing. First of all, you just notice the breath. Just notice it. It is not about changing it or fixing it or lengthening it or shortening it but being aware of it.

You notice the breath coming into your body; the breath leaving. You place your attention on it. That is all you need to do.

What seems to happen, and this may take a few moments, depending on how anxious you are; what seems to happen is that when we place our attention on a physical aspect of the body, like breathing, our tension starts to decrease and we come to a balance.

Now if you are in panic mode, this won’t necessarily help you. But it will help if you are stressed in traffic, or if you have something coming up at work that you need to present or, whatever it is – something’s stressing you. You watch your breathing, just notice and what happens is that you start coming to balance without effort, without pushing yourself or forcing yourself, without any violence. In a way (pushing) is kind of violent to push at yourself to be calm.

You are also teaching yourself, by doing it this way. It takes a bit of practice. Any time you think of it, you could notice your breathing, watch what happens to yourself, so that as you practice this way, then you are more reliant on it, more trusting of it.

That is one and the second one is very sweet too.

Part 2 – Observing the Radial Pulse

Take whichever hand you wish and place your palm up; put the back of your other wrist in it e.g. cradle your one wrist in the other palm, and bring three fingers (of the hand cradling) to the radial pulse at your wrist. Take a moment to find it and feel it. If you can’t find it, you are probably holding the pulse too tight or too loose. Back off the pressure or place a bit more pressure on it.

As soon as you begin to notice a thumping, a pulsing, just back off and release some pressure.

In this process, in this little technique, what you are doing is putting your attention on the three fingers (holding the wrist.)

You will notice that one finger pulse may feel stronger than another or two pulses that you are noticing in one of the three fingers or two of the three fingers, are stronger than the other. What you wait for is a balancing, so that in each finger, you feel the same (or equal) pulsing, the same pressure, the same thumping. Ideally the same equal pulsing is felt in all three fingers. It may take up to a minute for that to begin to happen. Just sit. Rest your arm against your body and place your attention on your three fingers and the pulsing comes to balance (in all of them.) Very simple, a very simple technique.

By doing this one and the breathing process, (part 1) you are actually teaching yourself to be aware; to notice; to notice your tension in a much more…being much more alert to it, but also you are teaching your body what it feels like to be calm.

A lot of the time we think that to be calm means we are flat (in affect) or we are not able to manage life in a very “up” manner. You’re soooo calm, you know? In fact you will find that you have learned to be calm just before you go to sleep. You have practiced that every time you go to sleep or take a nap and go to sleep, you have practiced that state of calmness and so you pair that with going to sleep because you learned calm and sleep are paired.

In these two little techniques you begin to see that you can be very calm, very calm, and at the same time, extremely alert. That is important. You want to be calm when you are driving but you want to be alert, you don’t want to be asleep.

You want to be calm when you are doing anything that is important to you so that you can enjoy it, so that you can be focused on it, but you want to be alert.

These two wee techniques will help you with that.

Peace to you.

About ellen

Ellen Sutherland shares her work through her sites:, and her book: "At Your Heart's Pace",
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5 Responses to Two Quick Stress Management Techniques

  1. Angela Scott says:

    This is some great advice. Anything to lessen my stress level, techniques to learn, is helpful. Great blog post. Thanks for sharing.

    ~Angela Scott

  2. Mimosa says:

    You’re the greatest! IMHO

  3. Marlie says:

    I thank you humbly for sharing your wisdom

Comments are closed.