Stress Relief and Meditation
Your eyes are tired.
Your body's tight, exhausted.
You feel edgy and worn out, and doubt you'll sleep tonight (again).
No wonder you want a drink, maybe a little weed. Another night of TV. Anything to relax.
All these symptoms are physiological signs of stress, all felt in your body. But all derive from the mind. So let's work on the source, not merely the after-effects.
Now, I mean. Right. Now.
Breathe. When we take slower, deeper breaths, it sends a message to our brain that we're slowing down, and the brain, in turn, allows the parasympathetic nervous system to lower our heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and generally calm the body. Click here for examples from Anxiety Canada, or learn from Dr. Andrew Weil here.
Drift Away. Guided imagery is a powerful way to transport your mind to another place, without chemicals. It can restore your balance in life, leaving you feeling more relaxed and centered. Read more, or take a little trip with Patrice Rancor. Fragrant Heart and Purpose Fairy have a number of them, each a different focus, all free.
Meditate. It's not some mystical act, it's just letting your mind become more aware of the world we ignore when engaged in "real life". Everyone can do it, and it needn't take much time. First check out this video), then follow with this one. My personal favorite is Headspace, but you can find several other apps here.
Music. Your day relies primarily on your brain's frontal lobe and left hemisphere (communication, making decisions). But music taps the right-hemisphere, the non-dominant half for most of us. It's like a neurological vacation, if you choose appropriate music. Classical is excellent, ditto mellow jazz, but the greatest benefit comes from low frequency chording (click icon ;10 second delay), ambient nature sounds, hypnotic (drums, gongs, didgeridoos), or even binaural beats (2 ears blend separate frequencies).
Other. There are many things that help reduce stress: better nutrition, regular exercise, being with close friends, entering a cathedral (for some), walking in nature . . . Do what works for you. Take that step now. Stress is destructive.
-- Richard Boersma