The Art of De-stressing
I was glad to pick up a Time Magazine at my dermatologist’s office recently and on the cover was a picture of a woman meditating. The cover read “The Mindful Revolution: The science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture”. I agree with the author that “we have become a stressed and exhausted society and that the science of de-stressing is emerging out of necessity” (Pickert 42). The article explores how practicing mindfulness can help us find some inner peace in a chaotic outer world.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of living in the present moment. This ancient practice is about being completely aware of what’s happening in the present of all that’s going on inside and all that’s happening around you. It means not living your life on “autopilot”. Instead, you experience life as it unfolds moment to moment, good and bad, and without judgment or preconceived notions.
More about Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a great stress reliever and it is especially helpful for those of us who just can’t seem to unwind, de-stress, or “let it go” as easily as others. The constant stress we subject ourselves to will manifest physically in our bodies as tension, pain, and weakened immune systems if we do not learn to release it from our bodies.
Researchers say Mindfulness is good for your health
We know that stress can contribute to or even exacerbate certain health conditions. Doctors often prescribe stress reduction programs and practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, suggesting that de-stressing can actually be good for your health. Studies suggest that practicing mindfulness may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem. Scientists have been able to prove that practicing meditation and mindfulness can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, while increasing immune system function (Pickert 45).
How You Can Become More Mindful
- Observe your breath whenever you think of it. Doing this will bring your awareness back into your body and will have a calming effect.
- Observe your reactions to people and situations. You can be a compassionate presence for someone else’s drama without getting sucked into it.
- Remember that “this too will pass”. Each moment is fleeting so decide how much of your energy or resistance (resistance is an energy drainer) you want to put into what’s in front of you right now.
- Spend some time in a nature setting and observe everything around you. Resist the urge to bring your phone along.
- Find mindfulness resources in your local community, including yoga and meditation classes, mindfulness-based stress reduction programs and books.
Pickert, Kate. “The Art of Being Mindful.” Time Magazine. 3 February 2014: 40-46.
“Mindfulness Matters: Can Living in the Moment Improve Your Health?” News in Health (Jan. 2012):n. pag. NIH.Web. 4 June 2014. <http://www.newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Jan2012/Feature2