In a busy world where hectic schedules are the norm, it can be truly beneficial to take a mental timeout. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 44% of individuals have reported their stress levels have increased within the past five years. Money, work, and the economy were at the top of the list for stress-related worry, with family obligations, relationships, and personal health close behind. Stress has a profound impact on mental and physical well-being, with the acute ability to skyrocket blood pressure and heart rate. The APA reports that prolonged periods of stress and increased hormone levels can lead to stroke, heart attack, and other hypertension-related conditions.
Stress can affect virtually every system in the body, from the musculoskeletal system to the reproductive system, and learning to reduce stress levels can positively impact health. With health and wellness at the pinnacle of SCPT’s core values, we’re providing a few potent techniques that can help to reduce stress.
Mindfulness Meditation: Remaining “in the moment” instead of worrying and over-analyzing can help your nervous system find balance. Practice mindfulness meditation in a comfortable position and a quiet environment in nature or a calm place indoors. Create a point of focus; maybe it’s a spot on the wall or a peaceful image in your mind. Try to focus, and if your mind wanders, bring it back to your focal point. Breathing is very important; measure your breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
Visualization Meditation: Use all five senses to imagine a scene where you feel internal peace to help relieve tension, anxiety, and stress. First, select a setting where you feel most calm. It could be resting in green grass under the summer sun, a sandy beach, or a cozy corner chair at home. Close your eyes and inhale the scent of freshly cut grass, listen to the thrum of the rolling ocean waves, or feel the comfortable chair cushioned against you. When you’re ready, open your eyes, and return to your current surroundings, fully aware and relaxed.
Yoga: Practice yoga in your home or at a local studio to alleviate stress and anxiety. A variety of deep breathing exercises, along with meditation and poses that strengthen the musculoskeletal system and calm the mind can help you to relieve tension and learn how to manage stress in uncomfortable environments. Helpguide.org, in collaboration with Harvard Health Publications, has shared the most beneficial types of yoga for stress reduction – keep reading for more relaxation techniques.
Individually or in combination, these powerful meditation methods can decrease bouts of depression, stress, insomnia, chronic pain, and headaches while increasing quality-of-life and an overall improved sense of well-being. It is SCPT’s hope that you find a technique that works best for you to enhance your overall health and happiness.