4 Ways to Fight Stress
Stress has become a major cause for worry over the recent years. Thus, it is imperative to counter it. Here, comes the role of mindfulness, which has become a tool of choice, for people and organisations alike to combat stress.
Mentioned are some ways and means of Mindfulness that would help in stress reduction-
Sit in a chair and close your eyes. The purpose is just to BE, and experience the present moment. For most of us, we rarely experience the present, we are busy thinking about what has just happened or planning for the future.
Thus, FOFBOC is the first step towards achieving mindfulness.
Simply allow yourself to be aware of your feet on the floor (FOF) and your bottom on the chair (BOC). Often it’s helpful to begin by concentrating for just a few moments on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and be aware of this feeling as the air passes through your nose, down your throat and then makes your chest expand. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth – being aware of the sensations as the breath leaves the body.
Now comes the FOFBOC – become aware of your Feet on Floor, this can be done either with your shoes on, or bare-feet. It is important, though, to allow yourself to be aware of the feeling, is the floor hard or soft, can you spread your toes, are your shoes tight, are your feet warm? Then become aware of your bottom on the chair – is it comfortable, what is the sensation, are you holding yourself tensely or allowing yourself to sink into the chair? Your mind will wander, especially if this is new, but each time it does, bring it back to your feet on the floor!
The second method is eating in a mindful way. First think how many times you have eaten a snack and been surprised that it is finished and you haven’t even realised? This generally happens when you are eating while working.
This exercise, of course will require some food, for example, a cherry, grape or nut. Begin by taking a few breaths, and then picking up the food. Before you pop it in your mouth, notice it’s colour and shape, hold it in your hand and feel the texture and its weight and how it feels in your hand. Try to use as many senses as you can – they are particularly important in eating. Then after a minute or so, either take a bite or put the item in your mouth.
Try to stay in touch with your senses, what is the texture, is it juicy, or salty, how does it feel when you roll it on your tongue? Then bite it and again concentrate on the feelings and sensations. Also feel the sensation, as you chew then swallow.
By now you would have understood that mindfulness is all about experiencing the present. I love to walk, or run or ride my bike, but I use the time usually to think about ideas, events and plans.
Now for this exercise, begin by taking a few deep breaths to gain focus, and then begin to ‘be’ in the moment. Switch on your senses and notice the air on your face, is it cold, can you feel the warmth of the sun, what noises can you hear, what is the feeling of the ground under your feet, is it soft or firm? Your mind will drift but bring it back to the present each time.
Perhaps, this exercise is less ‘natural’ than the others but having worked with a lot of ‘troubled’ children, I know that simply colouring has an impact on the mood. It is very soothing, and one feels more relaxed and able to talk when they are engaged in colouring.
Luckily now there are several mindfulness colouring books to choose from – but the ‘picture’ is less important than the process. The idea is to forget other things and still the mind. Concentrate on pen and paper, the colour and the patterns that emerge.