3 Powerful Release Practices for the New Year

As we near the end of 2017, it's a great time to reflect back on the past year.

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Before we dive head-first into resolutions, I find it an incredibly valuable practice to get clear on what didn't serve us in 2017 and be able to release those things so we walk through the gates of 2018 without any emotional chains that may hold us back. 

The why is often simple to come by but when it comes to the how it's often hard to know what to do.

How can we actually release stress, negative emotions or painful events from our mind?

There is no one-right or one-wrong way, it's personal for each of us.  

But today let's look at 3 concrete practices you can incorporate into a calm and more centered new year.

Choose a Trigger

It can be challenging to remember to practice release on a regular basis. When you choose a trigger or something to remind you of this habit you want to cultivate, releasing becomes easier.

For example, you might choose the entrance of your home as the trigger to begin releasing stresses from your day at work. Simply stop in front of your door for just a minute before going inside and silently repeat the mantra in your head, "I Release". 

You may also incorporate specific things from your day that you need to release, for example, "I release today's marketing meeting." This is especially useful for issues you are tempted to ruminate about -- things that didn't quite go your way.

Once you've repeated the mantra and given yourself a minute to breathe, enter your home with a fresh perspective and newfound presence.

Pen + Paper

If you want a release practice you can use anytime and anywhere, good old-fashioned pen and paper will do the trick.

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Studies show that writing benefits people with a variety of issues and past traumas. Writing is one of the best practices for finding relief from stress and heavy emotions, especially if you have nowhere to verbalize your struggles.

Here's a way to get started: 

1. Choose a time of day when you know you'll have at least 2 minutes to spare. The best time is in the evening soon before bed -- this gives you the opportunity to review the day's stressors and get them out of your system so they don't ruin your sleep.

2. Break your day up into a few relevant categories such as: work, spouse, kids, or anything else that played a role in your day.

3. Under each category, list any negative emotions that come up (e.g., powerless) and any negative events that occurred (e.g., car broke down).

4. Then, allow yourself to free write your thoughts and feelings on each category underneath. Don't worry if they are negative -- this is your opportunity to get those thoughts and worries out of your head and onto paper.

At the end, rip up the paper and discard it.

Yoga for Release

If you prefer a more physical outlet for release, try a super mini 2-minute yoga practice.  

Again, this can be performed just before bed or early in the morning before work. It can even be done at the office if you can find some private space.

1. Start in child's pose and begin to take some deep, focused breaths.

2. Then move forward onto your belly, resting your forehead down, and bend your knees for a restorative upward bow to release the hip flexors.

3. Plant your hands at your sides and move into cobra pose, peeling the shoulders back.

4. Repeat this as many times as needed, moving from child's pose to upward bow to cobra pose.

As stress arises in the new year, it's better to have a plan of action than to be caught off-guard. Try incorporating one of these quick release practices into your daily routine.

Want to explore more powerful practices to incorporate in the new year? Get free access to my Yoga & Wellness Resource Library with yoga sequences, self-care guides, and more!

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Mary Sabo