In today’s world, we are getting busier and busier – stress is something we live with everyday. When we are stressed, our body changes. You might notice that you feel nervous, anxious, frustrated, worried – or maybe even angry and irritable. Inside, your hormones are swirling – adrenaline, cortisol – the whole fight or flight response that we can’t see, but nevertheless, our body feels the effects.
We may feel the effects immediately or possibly over time – going gray early, fatigue, weight gain, loss of energy, insomnia, memory issues, depression and the list goes on. And we all know the effect that stress has on eating disorders and addictions.
Stress And Disease
The Center for Disease Control says that about 90% of all doctor visits come from stress. Other studies show that stress is a worldwide issue, continuing to grow. So what do we do about it? We’ve all heard of the many options: exercise, yoga, meditation, relaxation, more sleep – and they all require something that we often feel we don’t have: TIME. The new highly coveted four-letter word.
Now, how do we fit stress-reducing activities into our busy schedules? The first thing I ask my clients to do is an exercise I call “the one minute vacation.” We all have one minute, even the busiest of us, so it’s easily fit into our daily lives – the only requirement is that we remember to do it! I’ll explain how it’s done and then talk about the benefits.
The One-Minute Vacation
- Get comfortable and close your eyes – maybe do this immediately upon waking in the morning (As long as you stay awake! It might be good to sit up in bed or hit the snooze button to be sure).
- Take a deep breath in, breathing in peace, joy, love and trust.
- Take a breath out, breathing out fear, doubt and tension – and transforming it into light and love for the world.
- Do this for 3 breaths and take yourself to your favorite place in the world.
- See yourself in this place – see all of your surroundings.
- Feel what’s around you.
- Use all of your senses in this visualization, feel like you are really there.
- What are you doing?
- What are you seeing, touching, smelling, hearing?
- Breathe the whole experience into your body, feeling it relaxing.
- Take 3 deep breaths in, breathing in peace, joy, love and trust.
- With your out breaths, breathe out fear, doubt, anxiety and stress. See it transform into light and love for the world.
- Open your eyes and go about your day!
- Do this anytime during the day that you feel stressed.
Why It Works
Our minds are much more powerful than we know. Remember the second brain, that I talked about in our gut? It’s connected to the brain in our head via our nervous system – particularly the vagus nerve. As you visualize things in your mind, it sends messages throughout your body. Our body actually believes what our mind thinks – so when you think you are on vacation and feeling peaceful, relaxed and happy – your body really thinks you are there! The same is true when you think about negative things. This is one reason affirmation are so helpful.
Try this out for yourself and really see how your body feels. When I do this with clients, I have them tell me how they feel (mind and body) before they do it and then again afterwards. Every time after the meditation, their voice changes and they can’t believe how much better they feel. You can do this with your eyes open if you are at work, just focus on something that won’t distract you. Play with this and write down what you learn. It’s not so bad to find yourself in the Caribbean, Fiji, Hawaii or some other exotic location, is it? It may just bring a smile to your face – and all for just one minute of your time!
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