As I make my tour through the posts on Diabetic Connect, I have noticed that I often run into the word ‘stressed.’ Often, I noticed that people are stressed about something, like their numbers or their diet, or both. Other times, they are stressed about issues like relationships.
As you probably know, constant stress can affect us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Who needs that? So… what are you doing for your stress?
Have you tried using relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation?
You’re probably asking: "Don’t we have to get out of our minds, or at least the jumble of thoughts and feelings that we all carry with us, if we are going to have any peace? I can’t sneak away and pretzel-ize myself into a lotus position!" Actually, the benefit of meditation is to learn to be with – and not avoid – what goes on inside our minds as well as what goes on around us, and to be more aware of what’s important.
Meditation actually helps you to calm the inner clutter in your mind – fear, anger, jealousy – so that you can participate more fully in life, with compassion and understanding. With meditation, you train the mind to stop reacting. That can make all the difference in a moment of stress.
Start with a Body Scan. When you find yourself about to become overwhelmed do a mental scan to see what parts of your body you are clenching, like your fists or your jaw. Relax those muscles. This will send a message to your brain that you aren’t mobilizing for a battle and, chances are, you’ll feel some relief. If you can, try to step away for a moment.
Watch Your Breath. Literally. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, start out by simply watching your breath. Soon, you’ll notice yourself breathing more slowly, calmly, and deeply. Count your breaths from one to ten. Then backwards. Then start again.
Don’t Fight Your Noisy Mind. Our minds never stop their activity. Don’t fight yourself! Let’s say you have a memory of something that happened during the day. Don’t push it away, but instead say something like: “Yeah, that guy really got in my way. One (breath in, breath out on each count). Two. Yep, I’m annoyed. Three. Four. I can’t control anyone else’s behavior. Five. Six. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Life is good.”
Your mind may still be bang-banging for action. If you have to return to the source of the stress, remind yourself that you can be in the chaos but you still don’t have to be part of it. Tell your mind to quiet down. After all, meditation is a discipline.
Wake Up! Learn to relax when that urge to control takes over, and you’ll find that there is more to you, and the world, than you ever imagined. You may even feel as if you’ve been sleepwalking.
Any experiences with meditation or other stress reduction techniques? Please share!
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