Stress is something that continues to be a problem for many if not most of us. Especially as we get older and take on more responsibilities. Research shows that three out of four Americans report feeling stressed on a consistent basis. Stress remedies will vary based on your preferences, but one remedy that has been proven time and time again is the importance of mindfulness in stressful situations.
Use these simple tips to help you to gain perspective and calm your mind during high-stress situations.
True Presence and Stress
The ability to bring your mind into the present moment and acknowledge your current emotions is incredibly powerful. Allowing yourself to feel your emotions while in a high-stress situation can reduce that feeling of fight or flight. This is because typically when we feel stressed or overwhelmed, we are all at once feeling that stress as well as trying to fight it.
Being present simply means allowing your thoughts to flow without succumbing to the urge of trying to change them. As complicated as things like meditation can seem, the simple truth is that they only require you to acknowledge your feelings and focus on the moment.
A few simple ways to bring your mind into the present moment during high-stress situations are:
- Take deeper breaths.
- Focus on something that is physically in the room.
- Write or verbalize your feelings without trying to change them.
- Simply listen to the thoughts in your mind.
A mindfulness practice can take the form of a guided meditation or a simple walk. The idea is to stay in the present moment, focusing on where you are in the physical world and allowing your mind to wander but then gently bringing your thoughts back to the now. By doing this, any high-stress situation becomes just a situation and we are able to realize that it is not within us but a separate entity altogether.
Mindfulness and meditation practices will vary from person to person. Some benefit from group settings, while some prefer to be alone in their practice. Neither is right or wrong, but if you’re a novice to the practice, joining a group meditation or guided meditation can help in getting started with your mindfulness practice. When you’re faced with high-stress situations, you’ll be better equipped to handle them through mindfulness.
Your Breath and Your Mind
One of the many reasons that yoga has taken off in the western world in recent years is because of its focus on the breath. Our breathing habits are directly tied to our minds. This new way of thinking and breathing changed our experiences with stress and gave us the simplest way to connect to ourselves in the present moment.
Try a simple exercise. Close your lips and breath in through your nose for four seconds, then out your nose for four seconds. Do this three times.
What did you feel? What did you think? Typically the only thoughts running through our minds when we focus on the breath are just that, the breath. This calms our minds and helps us to slow down when we’re feeling high stress. Unsure of where to start on your mindfulness journey? Let us help. Explore our many mindfulness offerings here.