Ways to manage stress

Ways to manage stress page created 8-13-2018. By Lucrezia Mangione, LCPC, NCC, BC-TMH, DCEP.

Drink the Sun Exercise

By Lucrezia Mangione, LCPC, NCC, BC-TMH, DCEP

These 2 exercises are a creative and a natural way to relax.  It's one of the many ways to manage stress. Interestingly, it may also be energizing.  Why?  These exercises use the sun.  The sun can be both relaxing and energizing for you.

And all of this comes with a plus: the sun naturally supplies your body with vitamin D.  This vital vitamin is critical for your bones’ health and their creation of calcium.  And it also supports the healthy function of your gorgeous heart, your blood’s clotting ability, your protective immune system and your nifty nervous system. The sun is one hot source of good health.

The focus of these exercises is on the sun and it's effect upon you, your body, your mind, heart and spirit.  These are opportunities in which you may notice your inner physiological shifts and experience your own de-stressing facilitated by the glorious Sun.  It's very nourishing and beneficial for your mind and body, heart and spirit.

Prep steps

  • 
This exercise can be done indoors or out.
  • Take your personal self-care steps to ensure proper sun protection and avoid overexposure to the sun. 
  • Find a place to sit, stand or lie down in a comfortable way where you can have 5-20 minutes of safe exposure to the sun.
  • Sunrise or Sunset times are lovely, too. Find out the times and pick good location for viewing. Be at that location and settled in 5 minutes before the sun rises or sets.

Here's how you do it

Ways to manage stress #1: Sip the Sunrise or Sunset Exercise in 5 minutes

  • Look at the horizon. See the color of the air. Be present and witnessing.
  • Listen to the sounds of the environment. Hear your breathing. Be in the moment.
  • Feel the space around you. Feel your breathing. Be in the movement.
  • Sense the ground under your feet. Feel the earth turn. Be in the motion.
  • Experience with your senses the sun's slow surfacing.
  • Breathe in the first rays as they spill over the lip of our earth.
  • Drink in the sun light through your skin.
  • Fill yourself up.
  • Experience this moment.
  • Do this until the sun fully rises and shines or sets and sleeps in order to make a new day.

Ways to manage stress #2: Drink the Sun in 20 minutes

  • Take a few slow, deep complete natural breaths: calm and center yourself. 
  • Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so.  Keep them open and unfocused towards the ground if you are not.
  • Bring your attention to the sunlight touching your skin.  Whether your skin is exposed or you feel the warmth through your clothes, pull all of your attention to where you feel the sun's whispering touch on your body.
  • Pick a spot on your body. Meeting the sun at that place in this moment. Focus.  Pull all of your attention to where the sun is touching you.  Be the skin on your cheek.  Be your skin/hairs on the back of your hand.  Notice what you notice.
  • Sense what is happening to your body.  Breathing naturally.  Allow your body to shift if it wishes.  Breath evenly.  Receive the sun.  Surrender to this moment. 
  • Drink in the sun as you would take a drink of your favorite beverage. Notice what you notice.
  • Notice your body.  Use all your senses. What is happening as the sun, it's warmth and light interacts with your physical body?
  • Be in this moment, bathing, breathing, being.
  • Rest and receive a drink from the sun.

References:

Mercola, J. "How sunlight can improve your mental health." Mercola.com. Published 08/2008. Web.
Mercola, J. "Why the Sun in Necessary for Optimal Health." Mercola.com. Published 10/2016. Web.

Free Phone Consult

It's important to work with a counselor who's a good fit for you. I offer a free 10-minute call to explore the best steps forward.  Schedule a call.

Emergency Numbers

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call:

  • 911
  • 240-777-4000: Crisis Hotline, Montgomery County, MD
  • 800-422-0009: Maryland state-wide Crisis Hotline
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline website
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Lucrezia Mangione is in private practice. She is a board certified licensed professional counselor, board certified telemental health provider, counselor supervisor and educator, and nurse wellness education consultant. View her profile.