MIND – Part Five
‘Quieten the mind and the soul will speak’
Believe you me; we could all use a little time to wind down!
Stress is an accepted part of our lives that we all feel we could do without; when, in actual fact, it’s a necessary function that’s key to our health and survival.
It’s actually a chemical reaction based on how you perceive a situation. When the response is activated, the stress hormone Cortisol is released.
Too much stress and Cortisol isn’t a good thing, as an over exposure literally halves your IQ in a matter of minutes.
Reversing the Effects of Stress
The number one stress killer is Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) , the happy chemical; it’s another chemical hormone produced in the brain which naturally reduces Cortisol levels. And, the only way we can tune our brains to release DHEA is by practising Gratitude.
How to Practise Gratitude In 3 Easy Steps:
1. Each day, think of 3 things you are grateful for. Family, Health and Roof over your head is a great start. It's amazing what you’ll notice when you focus on feeling grateful.
2. Start a journal. Commit to writing down good things each day that make you feel happy.
3. Express gratitude with acts of kindness. Be kind and thoughtful to the people around you, even strangers. Smile more and just say hello.
How Stress is Actually Helping You
Stress isn’t all bad; and, it’s actually quite useful for you. As its primary role is to tell you what to do; particularly in ‘Fight or Flight’ situations, stress is essentially your brains in-built safety mechanism.
And, believe it or not, stress can actually provide you with the prerequisite levels of motivation to complete important tasks.
As an added bonus, stress can even fortify our immune system.
Why We React to Stress Differently
What causes stress to differentiate from one person to the next?
Stress can commonly caused by, but not limited to, finance issues, sleep deficiency, life changes or past traumatic events.
While you’re likely react to each of these instances differently to the person next to you, the stress is always initiated in the same place and, that’s within your own mindset!
You can’t escape these stressors; however, by conditioning your reactions, you can better manage the effects stress is having on you.
Improving Your Stress Management Skills
We really do you control what goes on inside of our heads!
And, the best way to get this control is by ‘Meditation’ & ‘Centering the Mind’.
Not only does it promote calmness in a relaxed mindset that inspires an environment for personal growth, it also frees up space in our heads to focus on the stuff that makes us happy!
The Power of Meditation
You don’t have to trek to the peak of a Tibetan mountain or chant mystic hymns to practise meditation; it’s just a simple as a breathing process that aims to clear and centre your mind.
A calm and centered mind can be a powerful thing because, it not only clears pointless chatter from your head, but allows you to re-focus your attention on things more meaningful to you.
The true value in this method lies in the mental clarity that you will achieve and, ultimately increase your productivity!
How to Meditate Anywhere
Here is a simple guide to meditation for clarity that I practice daily alongside self gratitude techniques each morning before I start my day:
1. Sit comfortably on a comfy seat, or the floor, with your hands across your lap.
2. Close your eyes and start to observe the noises that you can here in your surrounding space (this is the vital first step in drawing your attention away from what is on your mind).
3. Begin to breathe slowly yet purposefully. Take 4 seconds to inhale through your nostrils and hold this breath in for 4 seconds. Take another 4 seconds to completely exhale through your mouth and hold for another 4 seconds.
4. Focus entirely on your breathing and how your body moves. Eg, how your chest rises and falls as you breathe. Continue this cycle of breathing until your mind is only ever focused on your breathing and body movements.
Your mind is now calm and centered.
Take as long as you need to reach this state and repeat when necessary throughout the day. When complete, turn your attention to practising gratitude before starting your day with a clearer and more productive mind.
Whether you’ve been leading a mostly active or sedentary lifestyle, chances are that you or someone you know has experienced an exercise-related injury.
It’s safe to say that most gym-goers have encountered the dreaded feeling of gym intimidation at some point in their life. For some people, overcoming anxiety about the gym may be harder than the workout itself!