I think (hope!) during the next decade or two, that stress will become as socially unacceptable as smoking became in the last. Right now, everyone is doing it (like everyone used to smoke) and seem oblivious to the dangers caused to their health. Yet, make no mistake about it, stress and living in hyper arousal as so many people are now doing wreaks havoc with your body.
STRESS – Tips for Reducing Stress using Mindfulness
First, I suggest you Test Yourself. Just click on this link to go to a page that presents a list of questions that will help you gain insight into what is going on internally in you so you can become more conscious of your ‘state of mind’ and see how it colours your view of yourself and your life.
How Mindfulness changes our way of being with and relating to stress
Mindfulness is a great way of becoming more conscious of what’s actually happening in your body and developing healthy habits of being with and relating to external stressors. We discover that we have more choice and control than we realised and the way we interrupt and translate the externals in our inner experience is really what determines our happiness or misery. Paradoxically, we can feel terrible in paradise and strong and joyful about our lives even in the face of adversity.
Mindfulness is proven to lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression…
Masses of research papers and clinical studies have shown over and over again that the eight week Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction (MBSR) course lowers levels of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as many other physiological benefits.
Here are 5 tips for reducing stress by using mindfulness.
1. Practice formal meditation daily.
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. When you have grounded yourself by feeling your feet on the floor, your bum in the chair, your height going up and your weight going down, focus your attention on your breathing. When you notice your mind wandering away or getting lost in thought, notice where it went and very kindly and lovingly bring the attention back to the breath. You can start with 5 minutes and extend it by a few more minutes everyday. Intention and commitment matter when changing the habits of a lifetime but cultivating attitudes of acceptance, trust, patience and non judgemental towards yourself is just as important. You can use some of the free guided meditations I have uploaded here to get started.
2. Practice informal mindfulness daily.
Simply give your full and undivided attention to whatever you are doing, whenever you are doing it. If you are in the shower, be fully in the shower (mind as well as body)… feeling the warmth of the water of your skin, smelling the soap or shampoo, hearing the water splash instead of ‘lost in reviewing the day or planning tomorrow’s schedule. The more you can do this the more energised you will be throughout the day, and everything will be different.
3. Practice ‘pausing’ throughout the day.
Take a few breaths consciously between activities. Notice how ‘becoming present’ even for a moment changes your state of mind and you can approach the next moment ‘fresh’ and ‘awake’.
4. Be in your body
Notice your body and your posture throughout the day. Are your shoulders relaxed, are you standing tall. If there are areas of tension, can you breath into them and let go. Are you rushing? Are you smiling? Can you be open? Notice how altering your posture even slightly impacts your ‘state of mind’
5. Connect with your senses
When you are aware of /connected to your senses, you are present in the moment so remember to:
- Feel your feet connect with the ground as you walk
- Just hear sound / silence coming to your hearing
- Just see what’s around: light/colour/ shape without adding any interpretation to it
- Notice the feel of the air / breeze against your face.
I wish you well and appreciate any feedback / comments you may have after implementing these 5 Mindfulness Tips into your day!
This blog was written by Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness at Work