I get it. Deep down, you do want to g̶e̶t̶ ̶r̶i̶c̶h̶ ̶q̶u̶i̶c̶k be productive. You want to go the extra mile. You want to be more than the average. Most importantly, you want to own that cool Tesla.
But the problem is, it’s easier said than done.
It’s your body. It tires out.
Your mind, on the other hand, caves into stress.
Sometimes it looks (suspiciously) like they are either designed to or conspiring to keep you dead broke. Doesn’t it?
Sure, you can try to power it through. But for how long? And at what expense? Make no mistake. It gets far more paradoxical than you think.
The Dilemma: To Take a Break or Not To Take a Break
When I started my first job, I was taught to hustle through most of my problems. That included both mental and physical fatigue. Later along the road, I learned better than that.
Sure, if you are in a job that doesn’t require much brainwork, you can get by fine pushing yourself to the limit.
But when you are on your own, you can’t do that.
Here you have to make the right calls at the right times, solve problems even before they appear, and learn from your failures on the go.
So here’s what the dilemma looks like:
▪ When you feel like you can’t take a break is when you need a break the most.
▪ But if you start taking breaks whenever you feel stressed: you won’t get anything done.
So no, you can’t just power it through. Nor can you leave your desk every fifteen minutes. Then how do you get around it?
Here’s how I do it.
And it works far quicker than meditating, having a sip of coffee, or taking a cigarette break.
Use Your Ear: Part I (Relax Yourself Under a Minute)
It’s so easy and effective it’s unreal. Try it out yourself, and you will feel the difference right away.
All you have to do is touch yourself — in the ear.
Okay. I know. It sounds silly. But studies have proven ear massage to be an effective stress reliever for pre-op and post-op hospital patients. How so?
Our ears have all sorts of nerve endings. So soothing your ear can easily comfort any part of your body.
And when you know the right pressure points in and around your ears, you can almost command your body and mind into relaxation.
Here are three unbelievably simple ear massage techniques that help me destress under one minute:
1. Rub your way in:
Start at the top edge of your outer ear. Gently press it between your thumb and pointer. Then, massage your way down to where it connects to your head.
Here’s how it benefits you:
▪ By doing this little exercise, you are covering the pressure points from the ear apex to the ear gate.
▪ Not only does it feel good, but it also helps you with migraine and tension headaches.
▪ It stimulates the nerve endings and increases your blood flow to the head, making you more energetic and alert at the moment.
2. Love your earlobes:
This one is my favorite. And there’s no strict pattern you will need to follow. You can massage your earlobes in a circular motion, pull them, or pinch and press.
When you caress your earlobes, your body instantly produces Endorphin, the feel-good hormone that helps in relieving pain.
3. Stroke the back
Here’s something about the rear of your ear. It isn’t as touched as any other part of your face. That’s what makes it all the more sensitive to touch.
That’s why, like your earlobes, the spot behind your ear can be a great stress reliever.
How to go about it? Simple.
Gently stroking the spot in upward and downward motion will do the trick.
And if you can excuse yourself from the desk for a minute or two, I have found washing my back of the ears with cold water works wonder when things are specially heated.
Even though these massage techniques alone can calm you down under immense pressure, there are more than one ways I make use of my ears here.
Use Your Ear: Part II (Get 30% More Relaxed)
National Trust, in association with research agency Walnut Unlimited, got 600 people to listen to
➊ woodland sounds
➋ guided meditation
➌ and absolute silence
for 60 seconds as a means to combat stress and anxiety. What was the outcome? The participants reported feeling 30% more relaxed. Plus, their stress and anxiety levels died down by 25 & 20%, respectively.
It’s not just a study. I find listening to the woodland sound especially helpful as
✔ I can keep it playing in the background even when I am working
✔ It shields my workflow from meaningless outside noise
✔ And it keeps me in a generally good mood, helping me finish my assignments before the deadlines.
It is likely to work the same for you as the human brain associates woodland sounds with tranquility, space, and beauty.
So when you play such sounds, your mind will automatically pick on the environmental cues and respond with calmness and positivity.
On the surface, the methods I laid out here might not sound that impressive or super cool. But the best thing about these tricks is that I don’t have to convince you of their effectiveness.
You can just test them right away and let the result speak for itself.
However, if you are not sleeping well, these short-term quick fixes won’t work for you very long. Don’t worry! If you are having issues falling asleep, here’s something that might help.