Stress is our body’s natural and adaptive response to all kinds of mundane tasks that we need to be smart to cope with. A little stress is ideal for being able to solve everyday problems, both family, professional and social.
However, it’s no mystery that sustained stress causes us discomfort, attracts mental disorders, and prevents us from living full lives. If it is high stress but manageable on its own, mindfulness meditation can be used for this.
But, How can you use mindfulness to relax? Below, we’ll talk a bit about this issue and see five key mundane actions to de-stress through mindfulness.
Keys to Using Mindfulness to Relax
We live in a world in which in order to (over) live and prosper, we must constantly move up and down. The hustle and bustle of everyday life coupled with the media bombardment with all kinds of messages that make us believe that in order to be successful in life you need to be busy around the clock makes you live stressed out all the time. ”Style of our modern 21st century.
But in reality it is not to live, it is to live badly. Having a little stress at work, in the family or in the current global situation is a natural response of the body that prepares us to face issues that we must be wide awake to move forward and overcome, if it is in our hands. Instead, having constant, insignificant stress for issues that we can’t solve or that are a part of life. it can bring us mental and physical discomfort.
The causes of stress and what keeps it going can be many, but among them there can be something as simple and seemingly banal as not leaving time for yourself, that is, not relax. In the same way that in order to have a toned body, we have to exercise or take an exam that we have to study, so as not to be so stressed out, we have to get down to work, and the best way for that is to ” use relaxation techniques, including mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been in vogue for years. Also called mindfulness, it is a form of meditation that integrates Eastern Buddhist teachings with Western scientific evidence in relaxation techniques and emotional well-being. This technique results from the combination of the scientific aspects of psychology with the most mystical and exotic of the religions of the Asian continent. The efficiency of science and the calm of New Age manage to relax us.
The idea behind this technique is simple. He sees our mind as a machine for automatically generating constant thoughts without reflection, which are increased in the society we live in due to the constant bombardment of stimuli from different media and pathways. By being so mindful of what is outside that it overwhelms and stresses us, we forget about ourselves and stop for a moment, putting the machine to rest if only for a moment.
Mindfulness meditation it reduces stress by becoming aware of our mental processes, Help us stop dry thoughts that do us no good and which, if they become obsessions, could lead to mental disorders like anxiety and depression. It has so many other scientifically proven benefits, including improving our cognitive abilities by increasing gray matter, improving working memory, verbal reasoning, and even boosting creativity.
Mindfulness and Relaxation: A Practical Guide
By simply mentioning some of the benefits of mindfulness, it is clear that it is a highly recommended tool for our emotional, physical and even social health. But how do you use mindfulness to relax? These are a lot of little everyday actions that we can practice mindfulness in. Some of these changes will have short and long term benefits, but the important thing is to be consistent and to devote between 5 and 15 minutes per day as their effects are cumulative, making stress more and more manageable.
1. Breathing is the key
The mantra of all relaxation techniques is to be aware of the way we breathe. No wonder, because breathing is essential to nourish us with oxygen. Although we breathe constantly, we hardly ever do it consciously although it does bring many benefits, including relaxation.
Just watch the way we breathe for a minute. We just need this time to find the connection with our body, ignore stimuli in our environment, and focus on the activity we are doing.
A simple breathing exercise would be as follows: breathe slowly and deeply through your nose, noticing how the air enters and reaches your abdomen. Once the lungs are full, we pause by holding the air for about 8 seconds to slowly release it through the mouth.
Easy, right? We repeat this same exercise as many times as we have created it necessary, being aware at all times of the inflow and outflow of air and the physical sensations it brings to us.
2. Focus on an object
Eastern meditation on which mindfulness is based and this tool in itself aims to leave our minds blank to focus on the here and now. This is, in theory, the ideal that we would like to achieve, but it is certainly very difficult if we have no tasks to do, such as cleaning the house, walking or exercising.
Fortunately there are other alternatives which serve us both to stop the constant thread of thoughts and to give us a little peace and quiet simply by focusing our attention on an object in our room or on the place where we are. is located. Let’s focus on the shape, color, position, where it was purchased and other aspects related uniquely and exclusively to this item..
For example, imagine we have a ficus plant in our garden. Let’s look at how the leaves are, the color of the earth, the type of pot it is in … all these aspects which, however banal and simple they may seem, will give us calm and serenity, a repellant of negative thoughts that appear in our consciousness at a minimum that we have nothing to occupy.
3. Identify the emotions
This exercise is directly related to the previous one, although doing the exact opposite. If in this case we were looking for an object on which to focus our attention to avoid the appearance of negative thoughts, in this exercise we will do exactly the opposite: we will look for them.
Yes it seems counterproductive, but there is a reason for it. The only way to get rid of negative thoughts and learn to deal with them, preventing them from causing us the stress they are associated with, is to keep them in mind. Get mental shock therapy.
We are looking for a time when we can be alone without any distractions. We try to leave our minds blank. Hard isn’t it? All kinds of associated thoughts and emotions come to mind. Let’s identify them and write them down on a piece of paper, be aware of what they are, what thoughts and what memories we evoke.
People experience a vast repertoire of emotions that weigh on our daily lives though they are very negative and are the product of stress, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be managed or eliminated. If they can be reduced or rejected, we will have to take them into account, name them, analyze them and look for a solution.
Mindfulness is living the present, the opposite of thinking about the past and worrying about the future, however, we will not be able to live in the present if there are issues that can be resolved but we always have it to do list.
In case these are issues that cannot be resolved and are a thing of the past, recurring thoughts that crop up in our minds like weeds, let’s get used to them. If there is no possible solution to worry? Worry must push us to put a solution to somethingBut if that thing doesn’t have it, then that concern isn’t adaptive or functional.
4. Be aware of the body
Emotions can be hidden in the conscious but manifest in the physical through bodily sensations, some unpleasant and uncomfortable. The mind and the body are linked and, if one is sick, the other too.
Before coming to the end of mental disorders, our body already warns us that the stress from which we are suffering is harmful, causing back pain, tremors, stomach aches, tingling, tics …
At the very least, we are doing one of the above relaxation exercises, specifically breathing, we will notice how these unpleasant sensations decrease. If this were the case, it would mean that our body was so tense that it started to psychosomatize and that these feelings are in fact the result of stress.
In the event that they do not start sending even while still being calm and meditating, it would be appropriate to consult a doctor to find out what it may be. Also, it’s important to understand that our minds and bodies will be healthy every time we go to a psychologist and other medical professionals, but mindfulness can be a good strategy to protect us from problems. organic.
5. Focus on the little things of everyday life
Finally, we will discuss some daily actions in which we can apply mindfulness and help us relax. fundamentally any day-to-day task in which we don’t need to think too much serves us to practice mindfulness, Which is nothing more than being aware of the task we are performing and the physical sensations associated with it.
For example, by cleaning the dishes instead of seeing it as one more task or even something heavy, we try to take advantage of the moment. We feel the water in our hands, the touch of the sponge, the delicacy of the dishes, the cylindrical perfection of the glasses, the smell of soap and all the sensations that can emerge from this mundane scene of our lives.
We can also apply it to personal routines, like our beauty and cleansing ritual. As we shower we notice changes in temperature, the smell of shampoo and body gel, the sound of drops of water rushing on the floor. Then, as we dry and comb our hair, we notice how the comb changes the direction of our hair and massages our scalp.
These are all everyday actions, but what we have is so automated that sometimes it seems like we don’t even do them. Let’s take a minute to feel them, savor them, experience them. It is true that noticing the shower or washing the dishes will not take away all the stress that we can feel in a normal day, but of course it will reduce it for us.
- Alvarez, ML (2013). What is mindfulness. 2017, from the Official College of Psychologists of Madrid.
- Bertolín, GJ (2014). Effectiveness-Effectiveness of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR): update. Tower. Assoc. Esp. Neuropsiq, 35, 289-307.
- Didonna, F. (2011). Mindfulness Clinical Manual. Bilbao: Desclée de Brouwer, SA
- Simon, V. (2010). Mindfulness and Psychology: Present and Future. Psychological Information, 100, 162-170.