Would you look at that. After yesterday’s post about anxiety (which got a record number of views, hi new readers!), this article about busting stress popped up in my Google Reader courtesy of Pick the Brain.
It’s kind of long and the first paragraph is a little confusing, but it gets easier. Basically, the technique of being mindful can help manage stress. I picked out a couple parts that I thought were particularly poignant, but if you’re curious, I encourage you to read the whole article:
“In recent years, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) scientists were intrigued by the therapeutic effect of mindfulness and investigated with a support of National Institute of Mental Health. The UCLA study found that mindfulness positively affects brain functions, e.g. a simple awareness on anger reduces anger. When you are angry, simply be aware of or tell yourself “I’m angry”. You will notice a calming effect.“
“False [flight-or-fight] alarms can leave adverse effects in our body. Thus it is important to realize a false alarm when it occurs. Mindfulness is about perceiving things as they really are without distortion or bias. When you apply mindfulness, to stress, it helps us realize a false alarm. When our mind is aware of the false alarm, the stress response is diminished or thwarted from being elevated to the full scale stress response. As a result, adverse effects of stress in our body are minimized.“
“You can easily test to see if you can effortlessly sustain mindfulness for a period of time. For example, while you are driving a car or taking a shower, see if your mind is in the car or in the shower or thinking something else.”
I’m going to have problems with that last paragraph. Reading the article, I realized how not mindful I am. I attribute it to my undiagnosed ADD, but I am rarely focusing in on what I’m actually doing when I shower or drive (that sounds awful, I know). In yesterday’s post, I explained that was my problem with trying to use running as a stress reliever. I’m not mindful of what I’m doing, and instead I use it as an opportunity to think about something else.
I’m going to try this next time I borderline freak out and there’s no Zumba class or trip to the gym for me to use instead.
image from BLW Photography’s Photostream