From Sharp Health News, a publication of Sharp HealthCare
How often do you daydream about “beaming yourself up” — Star Trek-style — away from your stressful day? Whether it’s to travel to your favorite place on the beach or a quiet spot in your garden, most of us have moments when we’d like to be somewhere outside our sometimes stressful, everyday life.
Unfortunately, we can’t always physically beam away to escape our stress. But we can find an escape of sorts by training our minds with mindfulness skills.
But what is mindfulness and how do you practice it? Mindfulness is three skills working together:
- Concentration — Choosing where to pay attention
- Clarity — Tracking attention and noticing details
- Equanimity balance — Allowing your sensory experience to come and go freely without resisting
Putting mindfulness into action
Focus your attention for a couple of minutes on an object near you (concentration), note the details (clarity), allow what you are hearing and feeling to freely come and go in the background (equanimity), and keep your focus on what you see. When the attention wanders, return it to the object over and over again.
Scientists call this a “bicep curl for the brain.” Distraction does to our brains what gravity does to our muscles — we must strengthen both with exercise.
If you wanted to learn how to cook, play tennis or piano, you would have to get instruction and practice, practice, practice! Developing your mindfulness skills to free yourself of stress also requires you to learn and practice.
The VEBA Resource Center offers Restorative Yoga for Stress Management. Learn different techniques (breathing, relaxation, mindfulness and restorative poses) to help manage the cumulative effects of stress and support overall health. Check out our calendar to sign up for an upcoming class.