15 Suggestions to Re-Mind and Reduce Stress

Co-authored by Jan Jennings & Dr. Darryl Luke Pokea

Fifteen practical releases of stress easily implemented in daily living…. Give yourself the 5 minute space rather than rushing into interactions.

Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.
Hans Selye

The trouble with Archie is that he don’t know how to worry without getting upset.
Edith Bunker

· Be good to yourself by taking a few minutes in the morning to meditate. Sit quietly. Focus on healing scenery outside, sounds of nature or the sounds of life of people going about their tasks. Observe the peaceful rhythm of your breathing and the rhythms of life around you. Weather permitting take a slow quiet walk. Relax and eat breakfast slowly. Any task can be a relaxing meditation including showering, brushing of teeth, etc. just do it mindfully.

· While warming your car, pay attention to your breathing. Realize your breathing is always with you as you begin your public day. Let it be full and relaxed.

· When driving, let go of body tension. Let the rhythms and vibrations of the car and road replace body tensions such as shoulders raised, stomach tight, hands too tight gripping the steering wheel.

· Allow yourself to become comfortable with less stimuli while driving. Be with yourself and the scenery rather than play the radio.

· Become mindful of the sky, trees, sunlight and scenery, when you are stopped at a red light or at the toll booth.

· After you park at your workplace, allow yourself to be adventure or explorer minded before entering your place of work. Open your mind to the subtle differences within the routines of work, meeting the challenge of tasks, deadlines etc. Extend (often non-verbally) rather than withdraw in the face of negativism or high stress situations.

· Consciously relax and let go of tensions as you enter your office or work area. Let the stimulation of sitting down at your desk, reviewing phone messages, or turning on the computer, become triggers for the relaxation response consciously letting go of tensions as you did when you sat in your car.

· Use your break time to really relax rather than simply “pause.” Let your mind focus on healing images or get up and walk around letting those healing images enter your mind as though you were walking in your favorite place.

· At lunch change your environment. Eat at least one lunch per week by yourself, eating slowly and be comfortable being with yourself. Remember eating and digestion are natural relaxation states. You may turn the whole experience into a meditation as you feel all your bodily sensations, chewing, swallowing etc.

· When you eat with others choose to eat with people you like. As much as possible talk about topics unrelated to work.

· Use ordinary office sounds like the phone ringing, computer processing data, movements in other employees, heating or cooling system coming on, to remind you to relax. Let the sounds trigger conscious awareness of your breathing and bodily sensations. All these simple office stimuli can be used to “center.” Pick the one or ones you wish to use.

· At the end of your workday, congratulate yourself for all tasks and be grateful for all interactions; we learn lessons and evolve from both the positive and negative ones.

· Let yourself be fully aware in walking to your car. Be aware of your breathing, the warmth or cold of being outside, the moistness or dryness of the air, the light from the sun or street lights, the sounds outside the workplace. Let the sensations of your body be comfortable and move your joints freely with each step. Walk without being rushed, feeling refreshed in letting go.

· As you start your car and warm it up, sit quietly in full awareness that you are setting the tone in these moments for your next full time job; home! Driving can be a healing transition time. Notice the scenery. If you catch yourself rushing, remember you have a choice of where you focus your attention. Use the car stopping, starting, or shifting as markers in your attention that you can stop thoughts about your earlier job, and start looking towards your next experience, home. Shift towards orienting yourself to being home with yourself, family or other household members including pets. Begin seeing in your mind each in the moment as you are approaching new lessons and experience.

· Change out of work clothes as soon as you get home. This assists the mind and body in making the transition. Find 5 minutes to be quiet or be still, whether being in the bathroom, sitting in a chair, or lying down on your bed. This transition is most important so you can be with yourself again in your home setting. You have to be comfortable in relation to yourself before you can be comfortable in your relationship with others in your household. Give yourself the 5 minute space rather than rushing into interactions. Breathe and be aware of your body sensations.

Jan Jennings, artist

Listen to “Think Fit: The Power of Your Mind”:

Additional Reading:

“The Surprising Science of How Feelings Help You Think”

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