We are living in stressful times! How are you dealing with your stress?
One suggestion is to meditate. If you are thinking chanting and sandals, think again! In addition to relaxing you – studies have shown meditation actually lowers blood pressure - and it can help to promote changes in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, too.
Meditation can be done right at your desk, in the middle of your day. You can practice it before driving into or home from the office. You can meditate anywhere! Try one of these exercises the next time you are feeling stressed out!
- While seated, take five slow breaths. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold the breath for a count of 5, then exhale fully for a count of 5. Imagine the rays of the sun are warming your core, melting away your stress. In your mind, picture the stress leaving your body.
- Before you eat a meal, spend a few minutes just doing nothing. Perhaps inwardly express gratitude for your food. Then, be aware of what you are eating. Really taste and smell your food; think about where it came from, and chew slowly, savoring every bite.
- Just be. Wherever you are, close your eyes, breathe naturally, and just take in your surroundings. What does your seat feel like? What is the temperature of the air around you? Do you smell anything? Just relax and let your surroundings take over for a minute or two. Then, open your eyes and proceed with your day – with renewed vigor!
If you want to devote a longer amount of time to a meditation practice, try this method:
Sit comfortably in a chair, close your eyes and breathe normally – inhale…exhale. Try to clear your mind – picture an empty balloon or bubble in your head, or channel your thoughts toward a calming scene, like the beach or mountains. If your thoughts began to stray – “what will I have for dinner?” or “what will I do about that work project?” – acknowledged the thoughts, but pull your mind back to your calming scene. And just keep breathing – inhale…exhale. Simply keep this up and let your mind rest for a bit.
Our brains work so hard – they love this oasis of peace every so often! It sometimes isn’t easy, but after repeated attempts, I can tell you meditation does get easier and begins to come more naturally. Start small, with a time frame of as little as 5 minutes, and work up to 15 minutes – or more! If you want to keep track of your time, set an alarm for 15-20 minutes. If you finish early, that’s fine – honor your brain’s intuition that it’s been enough time for this session. You’ll end refreshed, centered, and ready to tackle the rest of your day or night!
To Your Vitality!