With the holidays behind us, men and women everywhere are collapsing on couches, mall benches, and behind the wheels of their cars in end-of-year exhaustion. It seems as though the obligations of the holidays can be more pressure and less pleasure sometimes. Lists, schedules, “must-dos” and “have-tos” cause stress that has a way of robbing our joy and stealing our moments.
How nice it would be to relieve stress and enjoy every second of 2015? To release your mind and body of distraction, worry, and self-judgments that lead to unproductive pressure and stress? You can!
Start fresh and relieve stress. Pledge to live your new year differently.
A mindfulness-based approach could make your New Year’s resolution to reduce stress possible.
Try Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MBSR, is a method designed to relieve stress by giving you the internal tools you need to cope with upset, stress, and strain. Through practiced calm and focused attention, you can alleviate the anxiety and disruptive thoughts, as well as emotional or physical pain that may burden you.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is at the heart of MBSR. Mindfulness teaches you how to pay attention with purpose. It is a mental practice that develops over time. Little by little you learn to focus on the moment. As each moment occurs, it receives your undivided attention. As you pay attention, you learn to become a non-judgmental observer of your own thoughts, bodily sensations, sensory information, and emotions.
You become aware in ways that you may have neglected for a long time.
When was the last time you savored a meal one bite at a time?
How long has it been since you really opened your eyes to the route you take to work, enjoying the scope of the skyline or noticing the faces of the drivers commuting alongside you?
Mindfulness makes the life you are actually experiencing, not the one you are rushing about trying to create or recreate, paramount in your mind.
Soon, there is no mental space for worry about things you cannot control, fear of what might be, or dwelling on the past.
What Do Mindful Strategies for Stress Reduction Look Like?
Working with a therapist or group can help you incorporate some of the following mindfulness techniques:
Body focus and awareness: Concentrating on your body may be achieved through deep breathing or a slow mental assessment of your whole body, head to toe. The goal is to be completely attuned to the motion of inhaling and exhaling or areas of tension and discomfort and let them go. Yoga and stretching exercise are easily incorporated here.
Thought observation and acceptance: Practice calmly noticing your thoughts and emotions by allowing thoughts to enter your mind. But don’t judge them. Resist looping in any particular idea or perception that will pull you away from the moment.
If distractions do creep in, mindfulness allows for redirection and renewed concentration. Practice and gradual lengthening of meditative sessions will improve your ability to remain in the moment.
Consider a mindful approach to 2015. Give yourself time to breathe and notice the year. Mindfulness will relieve stress and help you calmly accept each experience as it comes. Experience life fully and train your mind.
Mindfulness techniques are an integral part of our therapeutic approach, as we help our clients learn practical techniques to reduce worry and stress, while gaining a sense of confidence and energy. For more information about our adult counseling services please click here.