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Address your stress

Holiday stress managementSure drinking green tea and saying “no” much more often can lower your stress, especially around the holidays. What if you could also relieve some stress while you’re on the go, dashing, prancing and blitzing through your errand list? The next time your brain is in need of a quick break, try meditating while you’re on the move.

“Research shows that short bouts of stress relief can be more effective overall than one long session that you have to plan and fit into your day,” said Sami Papacek, wellness program manager at The University of Kansas Hospital. 

While you’re waiting in line…

Instead of checking your watch or your phone as the line crawls to the counter, use this “trapped time” to meditate. Relax your shoulders, since we usually tense them when hurrying. Concentrate on your own breathing, even silently repeating the words “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Drop the words and focus on your breath. 

While you’re walking…

Meditation is all about creating a rhythm, so even if you’re walking briskly you can calm your mind by putting together a mental rhythm. Try to match each step you take with your breath. As you take a step, breathe in. As you put your foot down, breathe out. Your breath should match the pace at which you walk – just breathe naturally and let your steps follow it. As with all meditation, your brain will start to “chatter.” Don’t fight them or push them away – simply draw your attention back to the rhythm of walking and breathing.

While you’re stressed out at work…

Give yourself a mini-break periodically throughout your day – just take 60 seconds of focusing your gaze on a flower or tree through your window or a photo on your desk. Breathe deeply and remember the things for which you’re grateful. Even a few moments or a quick pause as we go about our daily tasks can help us revitalize and reconnect without as much distraction.

“The goal and act of meditating is to relax, refocus and refresh – it’s something that you can do anywhere or any time,” said Papacek. “That’s why breathing is such a powerful form of meditation – we breathe all day long but don’t focus on using it as a way to meditate and reduce stress.”