Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wellness Tip

Daily mindfulness training can combat the effects of a high-stress situation. Buffer your mood with deep breathing exercises.

We all know how stressful situations can get the better of us. They can make us irritable, distracted and even forgetful. Practicing mindfulness techniques can help. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied the effects of mindfulness training — learning how to be present in the moment without reacting emotionally — on a military group about to be deployed to Iraq. They found that the more time spent on daily mindfulness exercises, the better their mood and working memory. Mindfulness allows us to not get lost in our thoughts or emotions, and instead teaches acceptance of the situation. To begin, sit in a comfortable, upright position, somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Set a timer for 10 minutes so you won’t have to glance at the clock. Gaze somewhere in front of you as you focus on your breath. Notice the sensations, like the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen. If thoughts arise, just acknowledge them and then let them go and come back to the focus of your breath. Don’t judge yourself harshly for stray thoughts, for it is the nature of the mind for thoughts to arise. The practice is to recognize when you have been carried away by them. Pay attention to each moment and each breath during this time. Take this time for yourself and see how much better you feel at the conclusion.

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