*I was given a copy of TIGHT by the publisher in exchange for an honest review and participation in the TIGHT blog tour.
Why hello there! My name is Kendra, I’m That Reader Girl, and today I’m coming at you with a list of 13 ways you can become less “Tight!”
Drama free. That’s how Bryan likes to live his life. Go to school, go to Ma’s work, read comics, maybe draw some characters, then go home. But despite his mother’s desperate attempts, living in a drama free world won’t work out where Bryan lives, and his father has no desire to let his son live a sheltered life and go “soft.” That’s when Mike comes into his life. Mike seems smart and sweet, but underneath he’s tough and his ideas of “a chill time” include ditching school and leaving town. While Bryan has never been into purposefully seeking out trouble, when his father is sent back to jail, he finally gives in, letting Mike drag him into doing risky things. However, everything starts to spiral downwards and Mike is beginning to go too far. Luckily, Bryan has his superheroes to help guide him into the right decisions and save the day.
13 Ways to Become Less “TIGHT”
Throughout the book Tight, the main character Bryan, found himself wound-up quite often. However, instead of taking a deep breath and thinking rationally, he went on some crazy adventures and found himself taking part in activities he would later regret. Here is a list of things Bryan could have done, or you can do, to help you calm down and become less “tight.”
a. Deep Breaths
Bryan on many occasions told himself to “Breathe. Breathe.” But just saying that doesn’t always help. Try counting in for four counts and out for eight. This won’t only help you relax, but it will fill and empty your lungs to their full capacity which helps carry oxygen throughout your entire body.
b. Count Backwards
Counting sheep is often what some people do to help them fall asleep. There’s a reason! It helps you relax! However, counting forwards may only make your anxiety or anger grow. It’s much more useful counting backwards. You can visualize your bad feeling going from a level ten, and as you count down, slowly lowering to a level one
c. Creative visualization
Flowers and sunshine and a light breeze with no one around. That’s one way to help you relax. Visualize the most calming place for you whether it be somewhere you’ve actually been, or somewhere you’ve made in your mind. Whatever feels completely peaceful. Throughout Tight, Bryan can be seen referring back to his first experience at the Starbucks with Mike as he had called it peaceful when they first went there.
You don’t need a candle or an instructor. All you need is a secluded spot where you can lock yourself in your mind and forget everything that may be troubling you.
- Take time for yourself
Bryan found himself constantly around other people. Whether they be his family or peers. This lead to a serious wind up even before his life started to fall apart. It’s always important to take a minute for yourself.
a. Find a corner
This may be an empty room or under your bed, but you definitely need a spot that is just yours. Lucky for Bryan, he has two of those spots. One, is his bedroom. Your room is a great place to lock everyone out. It is your spot to destress without the worry of anyone invading your privacy. His other spot is the office in his mom’s workplace. Bryan always imagined his mom’s workplace as a peaceful, calm place without chatter or ringing phones. However, to be completely alone, Bryan has his own cubicle and that small square is very secluded and a great place for him to reflect or find a way to distract himself from the stress.
b. Go outside
Fresh air is super important for not only your physical health, but your mental. Especially if it’s sunny. Go outside by yourself or with one other close friend that you know won’t bother you and soak up the sun. The fresh air will help you to calm down with some deep breathing, and the sun will feel good and refreshing on your face, instead of stale indoor air.
Crying is so important for your mental health. It’s a way to release all that stress. Sometimes, it’s nice to cry on someone’s shoulder, but it’s also good to hide away and cry on your own. You don’t need to be sad to cry. Sometimes you just need to release all your pent-up negativity. Trust me, you’ll feel so much more refreshed once you do.
Don’t sleep your life away, no. But make sure you get a complete night sleep with at least eight hours a night. Sleep is important to balance out your emotions which may be rolling if you’re tired. Getting enough sleep will get your good hormones flowing and keep you in a better attitude. If you are feeling crabby in the middle of the day though, take a twenty-minute cat-nap. DON’T NAP FOR LONGER! Twenty minutes is the perfect amount of time to clear your head and reset without going through a complete rem cycle. If you sleep for more than twenty minutes but less than three hours, you will wake up in the middle of your rem cycle which will leave you groggier and more miserable than before.
- Eliminate any other stress triggers
If there is something particularly stressful in your life, don’t go near it at all if you’re in a bad or stressed mood. For Bryan, two of his triggers were his dad and Mike. It was important for him to stay away from those two people when he was struggling because they only caused him more stressed and made him more upset. Something that’s an objective trigger may be a big project. If you’re tired and stressed and try working on a big project that you’re already worried about, you won’t have a clear mind or motivation to finish it. You won’t end up doing your work well and may end up with a worse result if you had just waited until you calmed down.
- Eat Food!
a. Good foods
Chocolate, Mango, Honey, and Green Tea are all great stress relievers. They’re also good for you in moderation. If you’re really stressed, take a moment, eat a small piece of dark chocolate and sip some tea with honey to help you relax. It’s also important for you to remember to not over eat because that will just make you feel worse. To help regulate the amount your intaking, chew gum. The rhythmic motion is also a stress reliever.
b. Bad foods
Notice how I said tea with honey, not with sugar. Unnecessary sugars are not good to relieve stress. In fact, they make it worse. The sugars give you more energy to expend on negative emotions which will in turn, make you more miserable. Especially when you end up with a sugar crash.
- Total Body Relaxation
a. Hand massage
While there aren’t many opportunities for Bryan to get a massage or even consider finding pressure points himself, this is still a great way to help you relax. When you’re angry or stressed, you tend to tighten up your hands, particularly into fists like Bryan did on multiple occasions. The pressure point between your thumb and forefinger is a particularly good place to massage if you’re looking to relieve tension.
b. Roll your feet on a golf ball
Rolling a gold ball under the arches of your feet is a great way to relax tension. Even from just walking all over the place, the tendon under your foot gets remarkably tight. Loosening that tendon with a gold ball will in turn loosen the rest of the muscles throughout your legs and all the way up your back, neck, and eventually relieve any stress from your head.
Yoga is like a more active form of meditation full of deep breathing and long stretches. As a nonactive teenaged boy, I’m sure doing yoga wasn’t a thought that crossed Bryan’s mind. However, it really is a great relaxer. Even if you’re angry and want to blow a lid, the long poses help to relax muscles that will eventually ease your mind. Even just a quick stretch can help in the same way.
b. Take a Quick Walk
Taking walks for too long can lead you to over thinking a situation and getting even more angry. That’s why quick walks work best. Bryan had plenty of these throughout the book. When he went to the grocery store for his mom or passed his dad’s corner, he was given just enough time to calm himself and not overthink his situation.
- Be creative
It seems silly to dance all around your room by yourself, but it’s a great way to release excess energy and put you into a better mood. Especially if you listen to your favorite happy song! We didn’t hear much about Bryan’s music preferences, but based on where he’s fun, I can definitely picture him rocking out in his bedroom alone after a bad day.
b. Write What Was Good About Your Day
Pointing out what was good about a day instead of focusing on the negatives can help you to escape the anger or anxiousness that may come with them. When Bryan did something risky for the first time, instead of thinking about the consequences or who had dragged him into these things, he remembered the thrill. This was his way of keeping the anger from his mind in this situation.
c. Imagine yourself in a different situation
Bryan was an expert at picturing himself as someone else. One hero in particular was Luke Cage. By pretending he was invincible to being hurt by words or punches, he was able to forget the anger that might come with being bullied, and revel in being a superhero.
- Distract yourself
a. Read or Watch TV
This was a huge outlet for Bryan’s “tightness” in the book. Anytime he was feeling wound up, he would go under his bed to the shoe box and pull out a comic book. Whether this book was from his mother or his friends. Getting absorbed into another world can help you to forget about your own world for a little wild, and I think that’s definitely the path Bryan took. Watching television does the same thing, and it was actually one of the main forms of media that helped Bryan to realize he had a problem.
Drawing was a creative outlet for Bryan. Like reading his comics, he could get easily distracted with his drawings. But he could also relax his mind and let his creativity flow whenever he was angry or antsy.
a. Talk with a Close Friend
Bryan’s closest friend, Mike, ended up being a bad influence on Bryan especially when he was feeling tight. So, Bryan found another close friend who was calm, cool, and collected. This really helped Bryan to rethink a lot of things and keep a level head. Talking to a different and close friend can help you to work through a problem with the help of someone else.
- Cleanse yourself
Person hygiene is really important on a day to day basis, but it also helps you calm down. Taking a long shower offers time to think while the hot water relaxes your muscles. Brushing your hair is a rhythmic movement that you can get mindlessly lost in. Washing your face is refreshing and a splash of cool water and help to clear your mind.
a. Plan a Nightly Ritual
Making an easy ritual that you perform is a great way to relax and wind down. Especially a nigh time ritual. For Bryan, his ritual was avoiding Mike for a few days. Although this didn’t make his life easier and he didn’t look forward to it, he found other friends that helped him clam down when he was getting tight.
b. Plan a vacation
The beach and the water lapping against your toes as the warm sun beats down on you. Planning a vacation is like a way to escape. You can imagine yourself away on a beach or, like Bryan, away in a world full of superheroes. The idea of a long, relaxing vacation without your trouble is enough to start to relieve any wound up tension.
c. Don’t plan a to-do list
Do NOT plan a to-do list. To-do lists make you tense and anxious to get all the things on that list, done. If you don’t get everything done, you end up getting antsy and angrier at yourself for not accomplishing a few things. Instead, take it slow and do one thing at a time as it comes to your mind.
a. Clean your Room
Cleaning is another mindless task that actually helps a lot of people out. You are reorganizing your life physically, and as you do so, you can take the time to sort things out in your head
b. Get rid of unnecessary clutter
I’m sure everyone has tons of unnecessary clutter in their house. Going through that and throwing it away is almost like throwing out the negativity in your life. Once you finish, the open space is like a breath of fresh air.
There are so many good ways to help you unwind and become less tight. Try applying these to your everyday life and you shouldn’t find yourself needing to skip school or go subway surfing to feel a rush which will only wear off.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Tight by Torrey Maldonado, click on the picture of the cover to purchase.