Friday, May 2, 2008

De-Stress in Mere Minutes

I'm not necessarily the meditating type — sitting still and doing absolutely nothing is a personal form of torture for me. (I find this out every time I'm on vacation!) But I know I need to reconsider: Studies have shown that aside from reducing stress and boosting mood, meditation can ease chronic pain and improve your immune system. You don't have to spend hours on end to become calmer, either. Try these simple, quick ways to savor the moment. No "Om" required!

In the shower
Face the water, letting it cascade onto your head. Take three deep, slow breaths. Pay attention to the sensation of the spray, the smell of your soap and shampoo, and the sound of water hitting the tub. Imagine you're bringing your troubles to your skin's surface and washing them away. Close your eyes and slowly repeat, "I feel refreshed," aloud three times, focusing on each word and savoring your serene, clean feeling before stepping out.

At your desk

Close your eyes and take five deep, relaxing breaths, emphasizing the exhale. Try this visualization technique, which I learned in sports: Consider the task you're about to tackle. Call to mind a talent of yours (creativity, diligence, enthusiasm) that will be key to succeeding at the task. Evaluating your resources will help you marshal your efforts and succeed. Before you open your eyes and get started, envision the assignment completed and done well. It will be soon!

While walking
Before you set out (sans iPod and cell phone), straighten up and tuck your tummy and your rear end in to feel taller. Walk slowly, focusing on each body part in isolation. First tune in to your knees as each one bends and raises, then your hips as they shift and rotate, and next the heel and ball of your foot as it meets the ground. Then focus on your arms next as they pump, then your neck, which is elongated. Pay attention to your stride for at least 10 minutes. By reconnecting to your body, you'll arrive revived. Another great way to be mindful while you exercise is through yoga — take our "Find Your Yoga Style" quiz to figure out which kind compliments your lifestyle best.

On your commute
Raise your eyebrows and hold for a count of three. Let it go and take a deep breath. Do this twice. (Don't worry, the wrinkles won't stay!) Repeat with each body part, tensing and relaxing your shoulders, your arms, moving downward along your body. Sit quietly, noticing how relaxed your muscles — and mind — feel when you're through. Relaxed muscles require less oxygen, so your breathing will slow and your heart rate and blood pressure will also decline. As your body falls naturally into a state of calm, your mood will follow suit.

Source : Yahoo Health!

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