In this article, published nationally in YOUR HEALTH magazine, Jessica gives you a simple and quick technique to relieve stress and anxiety. Try it and see for yourself!
Stress-Free in 5 Minutes
works wherever you are
It almost never fails. When you’re rushing to work or to an appointment, you drop your keys, spill the milk or forget something in the house and need to return. Your body is in one place, but your mind and emotions seem to be going in different directions. So your actions end up reflecting your scattered thoughts and feelings.
And it’s not only when you’re rushing that you feel distracted and disconnected. It may be the nature of your life. More than likely, you’re a member of several groups – work, fitness, hobby and religious. There are school meetings, exercise classes, kids’ music lessons, job conferences, out-of-town guests, yard chores, laundry – even a partial account is exhausting. With so many demands pulling you in so many directions, no wonder you sometimes feel fragmented, frustrated and off-center.
Often the response is to do more, which can compound the problem. But why look to find solutions in the outside world, when the answer may be within? Here’s a focusing technique to center both your mind and your body. It takes less than five minutes, yet it enables you to fell balanced and whole. It slows your breathing, calms your body, soothes your emotions and quiets your mind. You will feel grounded instead of scattered, and you’ll be better able to cope with the tasks and people you encounter. What’s more, you can do it almost anywhere, at almost any time. (If you’re driving, wait until you reach your destination to begin!)
Plan to do the focusing technique at home before you go out to a stressful appointment such as a meeting or a dentist’s office visit. However, you may want to repeat the exercise immediately before the meeting or dentist. In that case, either sit in your car in the parking lot or find a place where it’s likely to be quiet and more private. You can stand while practicing the technique and it will still prove effective, but you will be able to relax better when you sit. You may want to lie down, but you may fall asleep if you do! It’s ideal to practice the complete technique regularly so that if you must do a shortened version, the response will be the same. Remember, the entire process takes less time than it takes to read this article.
Witness your breath's natural rhythm for five or more breaths. (It’s not necessary to count these breaths exactly because counting will keep you from focusing on the breath itself.) Always breathe through the nose for the inhale so you can take in more breath. On the exhale, breathe out through the nose or mouth.
Next, begin to breathe deeply on the inhale, letting the body expand more with each breath. Notice the places of tightness in the body. Breathe into those places, allowing them to open with the inhale and release or disperse with the full exhale. Let any discomfort float out of the body with the exhale. Get a sense of your body drifting and rocking with the incoming and outgoing breaths. This will help to ease any stuck feelings in the body.
Now observe that right after the inhale and before the exhale (and also after the exhale and before the inhale) you are neither inhaling nor exhaling. These are spaces in the cycles where the breath rests. Pause and rest in these natural resting places of the breathing cycle. Use these spaces to experience complete stillness. Focus on these spaces and not on the inhale or the exhale.
Remember that your breathing is automatic, and there’s nothing you have to do to receive the incoming breath. Simply experience the breath. Be gentle. There’s no need to force the breath either in or out. Let it flow with ease. As your energy rides in and out on the breath, begin the technique. The sequence of this 5-minute focusing technique is heart, feet, heart, head, and heart. Direct three breaths to each of these areas from the heart.
Remember that this technique is available to you whenever you have a few moments. Practice the entire technique at home when you have five minutes. Then, when you haven’t even five minutes to spare, you can do one breath instead of three at the different places. Your mind and body will be trained to focus with just a few breaths.
Non-Western, less technically based societies – some 80 percent of the world’s population – understand that the mind and body are linked. You can share this understanding and use it to benefit yourself and those around you when you experience the peace that is always five minutes and a few breaths away.
Copyright © 2017 Jessica Schwartz. All Rights Reserved in All Media.