We all feel stressed at some point in time or the other. Stress is not caused by any single event but results from the complex interactions between many events and may lead to a physiological or a psychological reaction.
In order to find joy in our journey, Greg McKeown, in his article: Reduce your stress in two minutes a day, suggests five habits – ordinary by themselves, but together, prove life-changing.
- Start small by taking three deep breaths each time you sit at your desk.
- After the 3 breaths becomes a habit, expand it to a few minutes each day
- Do this for 30 minutes every day
- Advantage: A relaxed, patient, calmer, more in the moment, YOU. It restores perspective while enabling you take a fresh look at a question or problem and come up with new solutions. Recent research done at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital highlight the positive impact deep breathing has on the body’s ability to deal with stress.
- Start with a minute each day
- The meditation could consist of “body scanning” which involves focusing the mind and energy on each section of the body from head to toe. (You could try these two resources by Dr. Shyam Bhat on Progressive Muscle Relaxation: http://shyambhat.com/archives/1341 and Relaxation and Mindfulness: http://shyambhat.com/archives/1042)
- Advantage: Research at Harvard has shown meditating for as little as 8 weeks can actually increase the grey matter in the parts of the brain responsible for emotional regulation and learning.
- a. If we concentrate on listening to others with the same focus that we use during meditation, the interaction becomes richer and a bond is formed.
- Advantage: As Professor Graham Bodie has empirically noted, “listening is the quintessential positive interpersonal communication behavior”
- This is about questioning the thoughts our mind creates. “Is that thought true?”
- If you are not absolutely certain it is, just let it go.
- Advantage: This is liberating as it provides an outlet for negative thoughts. There is power in acknowledging rather than repressing negative thoughts as suggested by Byron Katie.
- Commit to purposefully do whatever you are doing.
- To do only that and nothing else at that moment (Very difficult!!)
- For example: If you are having a meal, take the time to savour the meal.
- Advantage: In “A Pace Not Dictated by Electrons: An Empirical Study of Work Without Email” Gloria Mark and Armand Cardello cite evidence to suggest “knowledge workers check email as much as 36 times an hour. The result is increased stress. Giving each activity your undivided attention ensures you’re in the moment and fully living that experience”.
An important key is to start small – very small. This is important as we cannot take on stress in a stressful way. “Often we try to bring about change through sheer effort and we put all of our energy into a new initiative. But you can’t beat stress using the same techniques that created the stress in the first place”.
Another key is to do less than you feel you want to. “If you feel like breathing for two minutes, do it for just one minute. If you are up for a day of really listening to people deeply, do it for the next meeting only. Leave yourself eager to try it again”.
What is important that these 5 habits should be sustainable in order to develop a stress-free approach to What you want is to develop a sustainable habit: a stress-free approach to reduce stress!!
Best wishes for a Happy and Stress-free 2014 🙂