Friday, July 18, 2014

Calming the Mind

"Calmness of mind," James Allen wrote, "is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control." So how can we do this in the midst of a hectic workday? Often we stress about things we cannot change: the economy, the weather, our commute to work. Recognizing the difference between what we can and cannot change can help us live more peaceful and productive lives.

Managing stress is a pathway to healthy living, and mindful breathing is the conveyance that helps the mind and the body to relax and focus.

Mindful breathing is a simple practice and one with multiple benefits: increase focus, lower heart rates, and the metabolizing of stress hormones, especially cortisol, which is harmful to our health. It takes as little as ten conscious breaths, less than sixty seconds, to ease oneself out of a stressful state. And mindful breathing can be done anywhere — in the office, the car, the elevator, the privacy of a bathroom stall.

When you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or stressed, try this simple mindful breathing exercise:
  • Breathe in, filling your diaphragm with your breath. Focus solely on your breath as it fills inside you, shutting out all other thoughts. 
  • Then breathe out. 
  • Next, begin to silently count your breaths as they arrive. Notice the brief periods of quiet as one breath ends and before the next one begins.
  • Repeat this process until you’ve counted 10 breaths — not allowing any other thoughts to distract you. 

 In just sixty second, the approximate time is takes to do this simple exercise, you will feel greater peace accompanied by increased steadiness and balance of mind.

By choosing mindful breathing instead of coursing through a self-perpetuating cycle of stress, you begin to create and reinforce the habit of managing your stress rather than your stress controlling you.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

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