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Stress Management – Keep It Simple!

There is lots of talk about meditation and mindfulness in the news these days. There’s no question that stress is hitting unhealthy levels for many, if not most Americans. And it’s not just affecting adults; children are experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety than ever before.

Starting a meditation practice can seem daunting to someone who is already overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and under pressure. Enrolling in a mindfulness class or practicing yoga regularly are great actions to take to help reduce stress and welcome relaxation. But if that’s just too much for you to think about right now, there are simple steps you can take right now, that take little time and no money.

Deep breathing exercises help to move clean, oxygenated air into your body, calming your nervous system and nourishing your cells. Breathe in for a slow count of 4, making sure the air goes down to your belly. If you’re able to, hold your breath for a count of 4, then slowly release your breath to a count of 4, emptying all of the air out of your lungs. Repeat this 10 times and notice how much better you feel.

Over time, try to stretch your inhales, pauses, and exhales to longer counts. Pay attention to the air entering your nose and traveling through your body. Imagine your cells being flooded with oxygen with each inhale and your muscles relaxing with each exhale.

Some stress is inevitable in life, but you do have some choice in the matter. When you find yourself stressed out about something, ask yourself if it’s worth damaging your health. Asking that question can help you put the issue into perspective, and maybe will help you let it go. The fact is, stress does impact our overall health and wellbeing, so let’s not sweat the small stuff! Let go of what you can and breathe through the rest.