Stress is something we all experience at different times. Some signs and symptoms of stress include headache, a feeling of tightness in the chest, abdomen, head or other parts of the body, increased blood pressure, stomachache, feelings of anxiety, impatience, crying, even depression. The signs of stress can be varied and are quite individualized. While stress is unpleasant, it is important to remember that the signs of stress are useful; they act as a signal to us that the stress in our lives is significant and needs to be addressed. But how do you do that?
Many people have heard of mindfulness practice or mindfulness stress reduction. There are many programs and classes now offered that focus on this. But exactly what is mindfulness and how can it help you? One simple definition of mindfulness is “nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment”. This sounds relatively easy, but in practice, it can be challenging. Quietly tuning in to what is happening inside you and making no judgment about it can be hard. We are trained to impose an evaluation on just about everything. This is nothing to feel bad about. Making judgments can be very useful, and is critical in many situations. But being aware of our internal states does not require this when we are working on calming the mind and seeing things clearly. Practicing mindfulness is an effort, but well worth it. Like so many things, the more you practice, the more skilled you will become.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness stress reduction and improve your mental health. One of the best ways is through the practice of yoga. There are many types and forms of yoga, but most incorporate some kind of meditation along with physical movements. This gives you the benefit of mental and physical practice all in one. Another benefit of yoga is that anyone can do it. Basic yoga techniques can be tailored for anyone. If you are more interested in the mindfulness and meditation aspects of yoga, there are techniques and classes for that. If you are more interested in the physical practice of yoga (hatha), there are plenty of classes of all different types for that. Yoga is now recognized as a powerful tool in the mental health care toolbox.
What are some ways to put mindfulness, meditation and yoga to use in your everyday life? There is no wrong way to start, and you don’t need to spend hours sitting in lotus position. Even two minutes of mindful attention first thing in the morning can help get your day off to a more positive start, while two minutes in the evening can help you relax before sleep. Finding a basic yoga class to try, or even using a simple video, can offer a way to get oriented to yoga a little at a time. The physical aspects of yoga can greatly reduce stress by helping decrease the tension in your nervous system, even if you start slowly with the practice. It is amazing what a few simple postures can do to wake you up or calm you down.
Stress management is a topic we hear a lot about. Since we all experience stress, it is important to learn healthy ways to deal with it. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness offer powerful ways to manage stress while increasing resiliency and mental focus. No matter who you are, or what the challenges may be, it’s never too late to learn more and begin using these transformative practices.
Yoga is a union between physical health and mental health. Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga are all key tools in your mental health toolbox.. This article, Stress Reduction Techniques Include Mindfulness, Meditation, And Yoga is released under a creative commons attribution license.