One of the major contributors to physical and psychological illness is the level of stress that we must manage in life. Whether it is from occupational, educational, or familial sources, stress can play a significant role in how we feel about ourselves, how we relate to others, and the level of functioning in our daily lives. Reducing high stress levels, or at least improving the way we manage stress, can significantly improve overall health. Below are some tools to keep in mind when you’re feeling a mountain of stress growing.
Deep breathing can be an essential tool, particularly right in those intense moments at work! The moment you recognize that it’s time to slow down, relax, and tend to your body and mind, that’s the time to do it. If you’re still in the middle of a project or in the middle of your workday, the best way to relax in the throes of a stressful situation is to breathe. Take a deep breath in and feel the breath go into the body. Let it open the belly, drop the shoulder, and loosen the mind. Let the breath smooth over you and through you, nourishing all of your cells.
Yoga is a practice, a form of exercise, which invites an integrated experience of body and mind. Its effects can be experienced immediately as well as over time. There are many forms of yoga that can either bring a relaxing, meditative type of experience that yields a closer relationship with your body. And there are other types that are more aerobic in nature, that get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Whether it is meditative or aerobic, yoga can help the mind and body return to a relaxed state.
Meditation is also a very calming practice that can produce healing experiences. Although it is a practice that is difficult at first, the challenge at the beginning is worth the rewards. There are many forms of meditation. The type of meditation that brings the most psychological relaxation is concentrating on a point of focus. By either meditating on the breath, an image in the mind, or even a feeling, bringing yourself back to that one point of focus time and again helps to calm the chaotic waves of anxiety, stress, and pressure that certain thoughts can create. It might be difficult at first, but meditation has many health benefits.
Yoga, meditation, and breathing consciously can be tools to use on a regular basis. Integrating these practices into your life can bring long-term health and well being.
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