There are a number of studies that show stress weakens our immune system. When we experience stress and anxiety, our body is flooded with chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline that, through prolonged and consistent exposure, will compromise the immune system and leave us more vulnerable to illness and infection.
Mindfulness is a wonderful way to deal with life’s daily stressors — and even its once-in-a-while big whammy stressors! Basically, mindfulness allows us to acknowledge and accept our feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them. It’s a tool that puts some space between us and the intensity of our emotions or circumstances.
Here are some tips that people at any level of mindfulness experience — from complete beginner to practiced expert — can use to reduce stress in life and create more ease and peace
Up your meditation practice.
Try 10 minutes twice a day – or 20 minutes twice a day if you can make time. Look for guided meditations on Insight Timer. Mix it up so that your mind is relaxing into the practice.
Look at your “what gives you joy” list.
Make time to do one or two activities on that list every day. If you have been putting off making that list, I gently suggest that you do it now. Just free associate for a few minutes with a pen and paper and watch the list grow. Remember that little things work, like a warm cup of tea or a bath, as long as they bring you joy. When you feel the good feelings, take a few breaths to absorb and enrich the positive mental state in order to push the mental state to a neural trait and make a happy bridge in your brain, which builds resilience!
Take self-compassion breaks throughout the day.
These 5 simple steps can be repeated throughout the day.
- Place your hand on your heart or where you find it most soothing.
- Acknowledge what’s going on by naming the feeling. Then offer compassion to yourself because it’s hard to feel this way, for instance, saying, “This is a moment of suffering. This hurts.”
- Connect yourself to the multitudes of humanity that are also suffering, knowing in your bones that you are not alone in your suffering.
- Ask yourself what you need to hear right now? My mom used to say, “This too shall pass.” I tend to say, “I’ve got your back,” or something along those lines.
- Lastly, ask yourself what do I need to do right now that would support me? Then do it – stepping into your power.
Ground yourself with a stone.
I use my “here and now stone.” It’s the same concept as focusing on the soles of the feet. Feel it, look at it, notice everything about it, and you will break the discursive loop of thoughts and emotions.