Oct 30, 2006
By: Caroline Latham
Question: I enjoyed your last post on good stress vs. bad stress. I’m a mother of 2, with a career. Are there any quick ways to reduce stress?
Brain Coach: First of all, congrats on managing two full time jobs – motherhood and a career! While the time management can be stressful, it is essential that you find a moment to just catch your breath from time to time. Even just 10 minutes a day should help.
Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life.
In contrast, you’ve probably encountered moments of “mindlessness” a loss of awareness resulting in forgetfulness, separation from self, and a sense of living mechanically. Restoring within yourself a balanced sense of health and well being requires increased awareness of all aspects of self, including body and mind, heart and soul. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is intended to ignite this inner capacity and infuse your life with awareness.
Still… how to find time for mindfulness or meditation when life is running at full speed? Blogging Baby recommends turning your daily shower into a mini-spa experience. Try it! Turn on the water and face the spray, move into it so you feel it raining on you and take a few deep breaths. Try to focus on nothing but the feel and sound of the water, the smell of your shampoo or soap. Feel your stress and worries come to your skin’s surface and then wash away with the water. If you can give yourself just ten minutes, you should feel calmer and renewed.
Why is this important?
While the physical effects of stress are quite well known, not as many people know that chronic stress kills neurons too. While thousands of new neurons may be created every day, most die if they aren’t nurtured with physical and mental exercise, nutrients from your diet, and nerve growth factor (NGF). Chronic stress impedes your ability to focus and pay attention, robbing you of mental exercise, and reduces NGF in the frontal lobes and limbic pathways. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation, physical exercise, and other techniques all help you return to a normal state through the relaxation response.