by: Isabella Sarlija
Stressed has become a buzz word that rolls off the tongue quicker than any generic response to the question, how are you today? With things like daily planners bursting at the seams, societal pressures to mold ourselves into specific shapes, and personal relationships that require much effort, we leave little time in our days to focus on ourselves. A lack of self-awareness leads a person down a path where they are continually focusing on external forces, and never paying attention to their mind, body, and soul. This causes us to feel the effects of stressors only when we have anxiety attacks, and not in the moments leading up to the attack. Mindfulness is the act of grounding oneself in the now, and looking at the self in a nurturing way, judgment-free. It’s a great tool to use when experiencing high levels of stress or simply incorporating it into our daily routines. Here are some ways we use mindfulness throughout our day.
GROUND YOURSELF IN THE NOW
When we experience stress, many of us are fearful of what the future holds. A trick to ground yourself during stressful situations is to use mindfulness and remind yourself that you do not know what will happen even an hour from now. A simple way to ground yourself in reality is to plant your feet firmly on the ground and use your senses to examine the things you see. Can you hear the humming of your air conditioner? Do you see the condensation trickling down your water glass? By planting yourself physically in reality, you can understand that your stress lives in a fabricated future, and you are quite literally in the present.
Stress increases adrenal and cortisol levels in the body, leading to shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and increased glucose levels. A quick mindful trick to slow down these physical effects of stress is through breathing. We recommend the nadi shodhana pranayama breathing technique to clear the body of negative energy. If this is too intense for you, consider apps such as headspace or calm for a guided meditation routine.
NOT ALL OF YOU IS STRESSED
A key in dealing with stress and anxiety is to understand that only part of you is stressed. When we say things like I am stressed, we allow for the emotion to define our entire being, leaving us out of control of ourselves. In these situations, consider asking yourself the mindful question: which part of me is stressed? By isolating stress as a feeling that you are having, you are better able to examine and overcome tense situations.