How to Use Mindfulness for Quick Stress Reduction
Many people come to mindfulness for stress reduction. Stress impacts everyone, regardless of your job, home life or financial situation. If you’re alive, you’re going to experience stress. The question is, how do you handle the stress?
How do you decide what you’re going to eat for dinner tonight? Your decision probably depends on how hungry you or your family are, who’s cooking, the food in the fridge, the day of the week, the meal you ate yesterday and so on. Many factors come into account. How do you decide which mindfulness meditation to practice today when establishing your own mindfulness routine?
Trying to get rid of your stress only increases it. You’re trying to pull open a door that has a sign saying push. No matter how hard you pull, the door won’t open! If you pull hard enough, the door handle may fall off, which won’t help. Stress comes from doing more doing. You can’t ‘do’ stress reduction. Stress reduction requires you to stop doing. This is what mindfulness offers.
So, let go of the idea of stress reduction, practice the following tips daily over a period of a few weeks, and see what happens. Write down all the events in your day that caused you stress. What was going through your mind? Do you notice any patterns? Watch out for these patterns the next time you’re in a stressful situation and notice what effect being aware has.
For quick stress reduction, try the three-minute breathing space meditation. This meditation cleverly includes a little bit of all the different types of mindfulness meditations in one neat, bite-size package. If you’re at work, you can softly gaze at the bottom of the computer screen, or pop to the lavatory and practice there.
Try ten minutes of mindful breathing, using the CD track or practicing on your own. Ideally, do this meditation in the morning to set you up for the day, but if you don’t like that, do it any time of the day that suits you, or whenever you feel stressed.
Walking meditation is a wonderful practice to integrate into your day. You’re then combining some gentle exercise with mindfulness – a powerful combination for stress reduction.
Spend ten minutes or more stretching your body in a mindful way. Use any stretching movements you prefer. The stimulation of the body as you stretch draws your attention out of your mind and into the physical sensations. The most important thing is to be aware of the feelings in the body and mind as you stretch, in a kind and gentle way. Keep breathing mindfully as you move.
Spend some time seeing a stressful situation from the other person’s perspective or just a different perspective to help you relieve stress.
Before you go to sleep, think of three things you’re grateful for. Doing so relieves stress and has a beneficial long-term effect.