RealePink is a place for women with breast cancer and those at risk for the disease
to share their thoughts and experiences, especially those related to the mind body self-care practices

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stressed Out? Go "Offline"

Feeling stressed? Burned out? Do you have trouble thinking clearly, remembering things, dealing calmly with stressful situations? Maybe you need to take a personal timeout. According to Esther Sterberg, M.D at the National Institute of Mental Health, "If you feel stressed all the time, you need to take yourself 'offline'."

Can you consider taking a short vacation, a day off, or even a few minutes to nurture yourself? Maybe you can do it right now. Read this then shut down your computer. Turn off all tech gadgets that divert your attention and focus on something that you love to do, brings you joy, focuses your attention outside yourself and your current situations, or moves your body. For example, a walking meditation can offer relaxing/energy building relief for mind and body. Remember that while a personal timeout may seem to be just for yourself, it will also benefit your family and friends, maybe even people beyond your immediate circle. Because whatever is healthy for you can also be healthy for your relationships. If you feel you're on a treadmill, get off! Whether for a week or a few minutes. Anything can help and heal.
Dr. Sterberg says, "We reboot our computers when they are overworked, but we don't seem to do it with our bodies.If you're exhausted from constantly working on deadline or caregiving, take a vacation—they're not luxuries, they're physical necessities. Find a place of peace where you can stop, look, and listen." 
If you can't get physically away from your situation, try meditation to rest body and mind. "Evidence shows that meditation bolsters immune function by reducing stress hormones that dampen immune cells' ability to fight infection."
Exercise is also key to improved mood and developing the body's stress response. You can join a group program or take it slowly on your own but making movement a daily practice matters. Developing a routine of physical activity can boost resilience, strengthen your physical and mental health, and foster a more positive outlook and sense of self-control.  
"(Even) a few minutes are better than no minutes—you can gradually increase how much you exercise every day. You don't need to go jogging—walking has significant health benefits," states Dr. Sterberg.

Relaxation is also important to combating stress and encouraging a peaceful journey through life. There are many paths including yoga, meditation and prayer, music, reading, or art. "We need to find our place of peace and try to go there every day," she says.
The key phrase here is "every day". What can you do every day to move your body and find peace of mind? If you miss a day, react to it mindfully without judgement and just start again. Every moment of every day is an opportunity for renewed wellness, a stronger body and more peaceful mind.

You can take a mental vacation right now. Follow these simple steps for a meditation time-out:
You are invited to take a 3 minute timeout to give your mind and body a healthy break in the day, a taste of silence, and a chance to regroup before continuing your introduction to RealeWell.

1) Sit in a comfortable position.
2) Take a slow, deep, cleansing breath.
3) Let a wave of relaxation flow through your body, from your head, down your arms, and torso, and legs.
4) Rest in this moment and focus on your breath
5) Close your eyes, feet on the floor, hands in your lap.
6) With every breath you can calm your body and your mind.
7) If you have distracting thoughts, just let them pass by
and refocus on your breath.
8) Breathing in you calm your body.
9) Breathing out you rest and relax. This is a beautiful moment. 

Continue to focus on your breath for 3 minutes then read on.
“All things will be well and all manner of things will be well.” - Julian of Norwich

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