The modern world leaves us habitually stressed, and while acute stress can lead to accomplishments and decisive action, chronic stress is really bad for us. According to the Mayo Clinic, it leads to:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
A few months ago, I presented on mindfulness at an Asian women’s leadership conference, so this week I want to share some of those tips. I want to note first, though, that these exercises won’t solve all your problems, and some jobs simply take too much from us to be sustainable. If you’re struggling with a job that just isn’t tenable, I urge you to consider getting out.
But if you just need some tips for handling stress better, read on!
Mindfulness technique #1: Breathing
- Start by breathing in and out slowly. One breath cycle should last for approximately 6 seconds.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly in and out of your body.
- Settle in and feel your body.
- Become aware of where you feel your breath.
- Count to 10: inhale 1, exhale 2, etc.
Mindfulness technique #2: Observation
- Choose an object from within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. Anything will do, even your shoe.
- Simply observe. Look at this object as if you are seeing it for the first time.
- Visually explore every aspect of its formation, and allow yourself to be consumed by its presence.
- When you get distracted, note it and then come back to the observation.
Hopefully these will get you started. Come back Thursday for 2 more techniques, plus some other stress-management strategies.