TAKE A MINUTE TO MEDITATE
Today, there are many definitions of meditation and even more approaches to doing it. When we talk about meditating as a way to “Press Pause” during stressful or anxious moments, we’re talking about taking a mindful moment to calm down, turn off some of that noise in our minds, and refocus so we can get the important stuff done.
The best approach to meditation is incorporating it into our daily routines (it can take as little as 10 minutes) and then using quick meditation techniques to deal with stress, anxiety, anger or sadness in the moment. Here’s a super simple 5-step meditation you can do anywhere, anytime:
- Find a spot to sit (or lie) comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe naturally. Don’t try and control it.
- Spend 3 to 5 minutes focusing on your breath and how your body moves as you inhale and exhale.
- If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath/body movements.
We’ve included a couple of short video meditations below. You can also download the Headspace app for a large selection of guided meditations (the app and many of the exercises are available at no charge).
MORE WAYS TO PRESS PAUSE…
Science has shown that slowing our breathing helps us calm down. Research also shows that taking a few minutes to do breathing exercises can help relax our brains and make it easier for us to cope with stress and make thoughtful decisions.
Start by simply stepping aside and taking a deep breath whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. First, take a normal breath. Then try a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural).
Click through for more breathing exercises.
The simple acts of getting up, getting out and moving our bodies are scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve our perspective. When we’re feeling so much anxiety, stress or anger in the moment, it can be hard to think clearly or to decide how to react or what to do next. If the situation allows you to step away for a minute, talk a walk around the block to let yourself breathe and calm down.
If you can incorporate it into your school or work day, try to get up and move around every hour or two. It does amazing things for your body and for your mind.
Click through for more tips and videos to get you moving.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the difficult or negative stuff, that we lose sight of all the good things in our lives. Taking a few minutes to be grateful can really change our perspective.
An easy way to get started is a Gratitude Journal. You can use an actual journal or writing pad to keep a list of the things you’re grateful for, or you can use the notes app in your phone or tablet. In moments when you are feeling overwhelmed or pessimistic, pull our your list to remind yourself that there are still lots of things to be thankful for.
Click through for more ideas to incorporate gratitude into your day.
We all have those days when everything seems to come crashing down on us at one time. There’s that moment of panic when our brains hit overload and the only thing we can think is….this is impossible. When that happens, we have to remember two things:
We can’t make our best decisions or be productive when we’re in total panic mode. We have to take a deep breath and a moment to regroup.
And, we can only do one task at a time. So instead of obsessing over the impossibility of getting everything done…we have to prioritize.
Click through for more tips on prioritizing and making lists.
Talking to a friend or family member can really help us calm down and get perspective when we’re feeling overwhelmed. It might seem easier in the moment to send a text or email, but actually talking to someone you trust and hearing a familiar voice can be comforting and calming.
In a moment of panic, we might shut down the idea of calling friends because they’re busy or we don’t have time to go into all the details. It can still be so calming just to call and say hi, and then make plans to get together later to talk about what’s going on.
Click through for more tips.