That’s great advice… but, um, how can you possibly “stress less” when life is hectic? My meditation students never fail to ask, “When am I supposed to give time to sitting around and meditating during the day?”
You might not have twenty extra minutes in a day to experience the stress relieving benefits of meditation. But, when time is precious, do you have extra minutes in a day to GIVE To Stress? Stress steals moments. Stress steals your ability to be effective, efficient, and compassionate. Because your body is most concerned with survival, it doesn’t have time to be concerned with anything else, even staying healthy. You can read more about stress and your immune response here.
Stress is a normal physiological response to, well, just about everything in your current environment. Your body does not discriminate between physical stress and emotional stress: it reacts to both by releasing the same hormones and vamping up your sympathetic nervous system to all stimuli– real, imagined, positive, or negative.
During April, National Stress Awareness Month (yes, one more thing for you to stress over forgetting!), my Introduction to Meditation Workshops at Westport Yoga have been packed. The best part? In between our afternoon Sunday sessions my students have shared with me inspiring stories about how a one-minute morning meditation has reduced their daily stress levels. Kara told me how she didn’t even get upset when her car was rear ended at a red stop light because she was practicing Mindful Breathing. (I assigned the homework called “Red Light Breathing” to encourage students to stay mindful even during a stressful commute!) That’s extreme; I’d still get upset if my unsuspecting Subaru was hit by some knucklehead who was driving too fast. But Kara’s Red Light Breathing must be super powerful.
Even one minute of mindful breathing can reduce stress and create relaxation in the body. Whether you have one minute, or sixteen years, here are 9 tips you can utilize to reduce your stress level and lead a happier life. (Number 9 is my favorite!)
The following was featured in Outside Magazine’s October 2014 Issue. You can read the full article here. It was written by Eric Beresini
If you have: “10 Seconds: Laugh
Even just anticipating a chuckle is enough to relieve stress and elevate hormones that combat depression and boost immunity.
If you have: 5 Minutes: Chew Gum
Chewing two sticks a day for two weeks can fight off anxiety and fatigue and improve mood.
If you have: 15 Minutes: Meditate
Research has shown that a quarter of an hour of guided meditation performed in the office can kick psychological and physiological markers of stress. You don’t need someone in the flesh to help lead your thoughts; UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free weekly meditation podcasts to download or stream.
If you have: 30 Minutes: Go for a Run
Five days a week at a moderate pace of around ten minutes per mile can boost your mood, concentration, and sleep quality—not to mention your cardiovascular health and muscle tone.
If you have: 45 Minutes: Take a Nap
A 45-to-60-minute daytime snooze boosts your cardiovascular system, bringing spiked blood pressure back down to normal.
If you have: 90 Minutes: Stretch It Out
Studies have shown that yoga relieves tension in everyone from medical students to flood survivors. Ninety minutes twice a week erases anxiety and replaces it with calm, though sessions half that long can also work. (Check out Lisa’s full yoga teaching schedule here.)
If you have: 1 Day: Walk in the Woods
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term meaning “walking or staying in forests to promote health.” Just a day in the wild, researchers have found, is enough to reduce stress, even in chronic sufferers.
If you have: 1 Year: Move to Switzerland
The country topped the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Better Life Index for life satisfaction. A strong sense of community, high life expectancy, and low unemployment make the Swiss life sweet. That and your in-laws probably don’t live there.
If you have:16 Years: Get a Dog
A pup will lower your blood pressure and generally improve your psychological well-being. And bringing it to the office can increase job satisfaction.” – Eric Beresini You can read the full article here.
Which of these tips can you utilize tomorrow? Which one is your favorite?
(I’m sure you have time to stress less. I can’t imagine you have time to stress more.)