Stress has a way of affecting your personal life and even if you want to change it, they are unable to get rid of. At some point, this mental stress manifests itself in many ways like headaches and stiff necks and much more. So stress impacts not just the mind but also the body. Are you suffering from stress and are looking at ways on how to reduce stress? Then the best way to do so is by practising mindfulness.Â

What is Mindfulness?

It is the practice of focusing your attention on the present and accepting it non-judgmentally. Mindfulness after being researched scientifically has been found that it is a key to happiness and reducing stress. It is a technique that is incorporated into meditation or yoga. It includes:

  • Awareness: Being in the present and taking in the sounds, smell, sights, and physical sensations which is often ignored.Â
  • Focus: Instead of thinking of the past or the future, the focus should be on the present.Â
  • Acceptance: Being non-judgemental about things and accepting the thoughts and feelings of others as well as self.
  • Observation: Recognizing the unpleasant thoughts, sensations, and feelings objectively without any reactions. Also considering that these are fleeting and temporary.Â

The goal of mindfulness is to invoke the physical, emotional, and mental processes.Â

How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety?

Mindfulness helps with stress, here are some of the ways it helps:

  • When you step back and take time to think, you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. That implies the stress response is not ignited.Â
  • It helps to not react to an event or a situation immediately. Instead, you pause and take time to come up with a good solution.Â
  • The brain is believed to have a doing mode and a being mode. The stress response is high in doing mode. Through mindfulness, you are switching to the being mode and helps in releasing stress.Â
  • It helps to understand the body signals better and be more sensitive to the body.Â
  • It helps to connect emotionally with others and increases the emotional quotient and reduces conflict.Â
  • It helps to make you more compassionate about yourself and others and reduces the stress response.Â
  • Amygdala is an activity in the brain that switches on the stress response. Practising mindfulness techniques helps in reducing that activity and thereby reducing stress.Â
  • It helps to deal with anxious situations in a different way as the mind is able to think differently.Â
  • It helps to focus and work efficiently as there are greater overall wellbeing and positive energy.Â

Other Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness was practised from time immemorial. Though it has its roots in Buddhism, most religions follow it as meditation techniques. It helps to shift the thoughts from the worries that have preoccupied you and instead teach to appreciate the present and get a better life perspective.Â

  • Boosts mental health: If you are wondering how to reduce tension then following mindfulness techniques help. Many psychotherapists now suggest this as a treatment option for depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, etc.Â
  • Increases physical health: The techniques of mindfulness helps in not just a stress reliever but also improves physical health. It aids in better quality sleep, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, reduces the chances of heart diseases, and also alleviates gastrointestinal issues.Â
  • Betters well-being: When you are physically and mentally fit it contributes to a better life. When you follow mindfulness techniques you can enjoy the pleasures of life and enjoy your life to the fullest. Even if you are going through a rough patch in life or are worried about the future, you are not preoccupied with them as you have a deeper connection with your inner self. Â

Mindfulness Techniques

Listed below are some common mindfulness techniques that can be used as ways to reduce stress. These are:

Meditation

What is a physical exercise to the body is a meditation to mind. It is a mental exercise that lays emphasis on relaxation, focus, and awareness. This is to be done in a peaceful environment and is an answer to how to release stress. Even 5 Minute Meditations can work wonders on a person. There are various types of meditation:

  • Mindfulness meditation: It is a technique that can be done without the help of a teacher. It involves paying attention to the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that occur in the mind. It is all about observation and awareness of all that comes to mind without being judgemental. While doing this meditation it is essential to focus on the breath.Â
  • Spiritual meditation: It is like a prayer where you reflect and find a deeper connection with your God. This is good for people who want to grow spiritually.
  • Movement meditation: It is doing things that bring peace and is an active meditation form. Here walking in the woods, gardening, or other forms of action is done where the mind is allowed to wander.Â
  • Transcendental meditation: A popular meditation technique where a series of words or mantra is chanted. This can also be a form of Meditation - Sleep and is useful for people who are wondering how to relieve stress.
  • Focused meditation: It is done by using any of the five senses. For example, Meditation- Focus can be done on focusing on your breath or on something external like looking at a candle flame.
  • Mantra meditation: Repetitive sounds or mantra are used as a meditation technique to declutter the mind. After chanting the mantra, the mind has a deeper awareness and is for people who do not like the silence of other forms of meditation.Â

Body Scan

Apart from doing Everyday Short Meditations, there are many techniques like the body scan that can be done. It is one of the most effective mindfulness meditation that helps to tune the body. It reconnects the physical self and hence you notice the sensations without any judgments. Every part of the body from head to toe has to be noticed so that the brain is trained to notice any sensory experiences. It is good for people who are looking for ways on how to avoid stress.Â

Mindful Seeing

Mindful seeing is noticing everything in and around your vision and focusing as much as possible on one thing. It moves the mind from thinking of something to noticing. By mindfulness, you shift the focus from yourself and move to the outward. It helps in having a positive effect on your emotion and also changes your behaviour to others. It also creates an awareness of the present.Â

Mindful Listening

It is the practice of paying attention to the speaker without being judgemental. It helps to let go of any anxieties and also encourages them to become aware of the present. When you listen with full focus your senses begin to understand the speaker’s emotions and words. By doing so it increases empathy, deepens the relationship with others, and increases your attention and focus. Mindfulness and meditation are not about being happy all the time or about suppressing your feelings of negativity. It is about noticing the present which can be easy, difficult, painful, or joyous, and being awake to it. That helps in managing all kinds of stressful situations and learning to live through the ups and downs of life.Â

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