We are all going through one of the most challenging events in our lifetime. This record-breaking pandemic, the nightly news, and daily headlines are enough to stress anyone. While stress in everyday life is unavoidable you can manage its effects. As we enter a new phase of post-quarantine, coping with stress is more important than ever.
Have you asked the question, "What if I get the virus?" Beyond social distancing, masking up, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet many wonder what else they can do.
Do You Suffer from "Stinkin' Thinking"?
You know who they are, you ask, hey how’s it going? and they start complaining and telling you how bad life is. Are you one of those, what would you say if you got sick?
Would you say… I have a healthy immune system that’s capable of fighting off the disease?
Many times, we are not grateful for the things we take for granted and one thing to be grateful for is a healthy immune system.
According to Dr. Sears, “Consider your mind-body connection as a powerful force that you can harness for better health, however, chronic worry can depress your immune system”.
If you have experienced the physical symptoms of stress, headaches, upset stomach, aches & pains, insomnia you need effective skills to prevent a downward spiral.
Follow Your Breath to Let Go of Your Stress
Do you know what the most difficult aspect of meditation is? It is finding the time! In a moment you’ll have the opportunity to experience a 5-minute process. But first, a few simple tips to enhance your experience.
- Choose a location where you will not be disturbed
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Loosen any restrictive clothing, sit at the edge of your chair, feet solidly on the floor, back straight, shoulders relaxed
- Gently close your eyes
- Breathe slowly and deeply and assume a passive attitude
Should your mind wander (and it will) gently bring it back. Practice catch and release with your thoughts.
This technique called breath appreciation is from the HeartMath Institute that has been researching the science of stress since the early 1990s. They have developed several scientifically validated strategies for reducing stress that is easily learned and practiced in a few minutes.
As you start and end your day take 5 minutes with these more advanced steps:
- Focus on your heart while breathing in
- Concentrate on a positive feeling or attitude while breathing out
- Lock in this new feeling and continue to breathe it in and out through your heart area
- Choose new feelings to help de-stress as needed
Let an App Be Your Meditative Guide:
If you’re having a problem committing to meditation, consider a Meditation App. A device that can cause stress may also reduce anxiety, develop mindfulness, and cultivate peace of mind through lectures, soothing music, guided meditations, and more.
The tagline for 10% Happier tells you the most important thing you need to know is “meditation for fidgety skeptics”—a relatable, no-nonsense way to learn mindfulness for people whose goals veer more toward sharpening their brains than befriending their souls.
Basic intro videos are free, but it’s $14.99 per month to continue, or $8.33 per month if you sign up for a one-year membership. Paid option: For $99.99 per year, you get access to over 350 guided meditations, the ability to download meditations for offline listening, and courses on stress, focus, performance, relationships, and more.
Calm is well designed and easy to use making the user experience an enjoyable one. There is only one narrator and the vast majority of the content is behind a paywall. There is less teaching but you can choose what resonates with you.
Limited free version and a free 7-day premium version. After that, the monthly cost is just $6.
Offers hundreds of teachers, talks, and meditations. Once you find a teacher you enjoy, like Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach or Sharon Salzberg.
If you prefer a quieter meditation, you can always set a timer and meditate to intermittent bells or calming ambient noise.
The basic app is free, there is an optional in-app subscription for $9.99/month or $59.99/year. A great value.
The only way to fail with these apps, not installing the app and not setting time aside each day. When you practice relaxation techniques on a regular basis your life will improve.
Happy trails and don’t sweat the small stuff…it’s all small stuff!
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