Image Source: Necole Blog “Janelle Monáe’s Yoga.” April 2015
It is common knowledge that overwhelming stress is an impediment on mental, emotional and physical health. In fact, research carried out by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) shows that stress causes heart disease, depression and sleep dysfunction. For this reason, among others, it is important for individuals to have the ability to reduce stress.
While undergoing certain stressful situations, there are 4 key practices that can assist people in finding relief. These 4 key practices include:
1) Pausing to breathe, remain calm and stay focused
While undergoing stressful situations, realize that worrying does will not fix your situation, however, it will exacerbate stress levels by negatively impacting body functions.
Transitioning from worrying to mindful breathing will have a calming effect. By remaining claim, you will improve your ability to maintain your focus on the present action of being.
Breathe until breathing becomes your sole focus for a few minutes. Shifting your sole attention to breathing has the immediate effects of lowering your blood pressure, heart beat and state of worry.
According to Mental Health Wellness Week, “Taking deep, slow breaths is an antidote to stress and is one way we can "turn-off" our stress reaction and "turn-on" the relaxation response.”
2) Meditating on positive affirmations in addition to potential positive future situations
Once your breathing evens out from the initial pause to breathe, shift your focus from the present action of breathing to a focus on positive affirmations. You may meditate on cultural or spiritual affirmations like: “You may trod me in the very dirt but still, like dust, I’ll rise” and “They tried to bury us but didn’t know we were seeds.” Or you may meditate on entirely different positive affirmations. There are no rules to meditation on positive affirmations. For some meditation on prayer is important in addition to secular affirmations like the above, for others, only meditation on spiritual affirmations are calming. Positive affirmation meditation does not calm everyone in the same way and that’s okay.
No matter how you meditate, research has shown that meditation has the power to give stress relief. In fact, after John Hopkins University scientists researched 10,000 meditation studies, they came to the conclusion that “mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.”
In addition to meditation on positive affirmations, a meditation on potential positive future situations can further improve your present state of mind. You may envision a future where you have eventually found the resolution to the present dilemma and have moved on to another pressing, but non-stressful situations.
Image Source: Necole Blog “Racheal Weathers Yoga.” November 2016
3) Listening to calming music
Although you should feel an increased level of calm by the time you have completed your meditation on affirmations and visions, there are still additional steps needed to get you to where you need to be. Listening to music that makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself is an additional step that does wonders for your mental health.
Listening to music will not only give you calm but also replace negative energy with positive energy. Negative energy heightens blood pressure while positive energy allows you to carry out tasks (rather than fall asleep at a time where that action can contribute to a potential sleep disorder).
According to a study conducted by researchers at the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, music that incorporated the sound of the ocean, nature, heartbeats and the sound of the womb helped slow the heart rate of 272 premature babies. These music also “increased the amount of time the babies stayed quietly alert,” “enhanced [their] sleep,” and “lowered [their] parents' stress.”
Fortunately, just like with meditation, there are multiple sounds that one can derive calm from. For some it is Hip Hop, for others, it is Jazz, Gbedu, Instrumental, Reggae, Azonto, Soca or Soul.
While listening to music, you can continue to meditate on potential future positive visions and affirmations as a means of amplifying that vision.
4) Massaging and stretching the body
Despite the change in distributions of energy levels that music will bring, there is yet another additional practice that can help you solidify your state of calm by soothing the knots and sores in your chest and joints from when you had those initial feelings of stress.
Slowly massaging your chest, back, shoulders and upper arms should add tremendous relief to you. Moreover, this simple action should help you divert your attention to the present massage action and further away from the stressful situation. While massaging your body, you can also give yourself light kisses and pause for brief stretches.
Thanks to these steps, you should be able to continue your mobility despite stressful situations at any given location.
Disclaimer: The practices recommended in this article are only suggestions and may or may not prove successful given the situation. Please consult with a professional if you are undergoing seemingly unending mental, emotional and physical distress or illnesses.