Last autumn was a good time to renew my strategy for the future because I recognized there is no magic potion that will guarantee a long, healthy life. I made an assessment of where I was at and where I wanted to be.
The year had been less than stellar. I moved from grief to gratitude. I reconnected with my heart’s desire to live a positively focused life, unencumbered with emotional baggage and to enjoy every day.
The past and future may seem like different worlds, yet the two are intimately intertwined in our minds. In recent studies on mental time travel, neuroscientists found that we use many of the same regions of the brain to remember the past as we do to envision our future lives. In fact, our need for foresight may explain why we can form memories in the first place. They are indeed “a base to build the future.” And together, our senses of past and future may be crucial to our species’ success. — Memories Are Crucial for Looking Into the Future
In a busy world it’s not surprising to find that both present day stress and memories of past stressful events have a negative major effect on health. Experiencing stress and reliving it are tied to cardiac disease, hypertension, inflammatory diseases, and compromised immune systems, and possibly to cancer.
Many memories that are stored during the day are not remembered. A new study Reactivating Memories During Sleep: Memory Rehearsal During Sleep Can Make a Big Difference in Remembering Later suggests that memories rehearsed, during either sleep or waking, can have an impact on memory consolidation and on what is remembered later.
Rushing here, there and everywhere while multitasking have become a way of life. People talk cell phones or text message while commuting to work, or scan the news while returning emails. In the rush to accomplish necessary tasks, they stop being truly attentive to what they are doing or feeling.
It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain cannot effectively or efficiently switch between tasks, so you lose time. It takes four times longer to recognize new things so you’re not saving time; multitasking actually costs time. You also lose time because you often make mistakes. — How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work)
It may seem there isn’t enough time to do everything you need to in any day. Failing to get organized and manage our time effectively can lead to increased stress. That’s why it’s important to develop effective time management strategies. Scheduling less can result in achieving more. Slowing down to pay attention to just one task or pleasure at a time is an excellent method of stress relief. Mindfulness meditation improves connections in the brain.
The state Mindfulness is the opposite of multitasking. The practice of mindfulness, which has its roots in Buddhism, teaches people to live each moment as it unfolds. The idea is to focus attention on what is happening in the present and accept it without judgment.– Being mindful can reduce stress. — Being mindful can reduce stress
Without doubt, maintaining control of my health and well being will provide the best chance for living a full and satisfying life in the here and now and in the future too. What I think, what I eat, how active I am, and the lifestyle choices I make have an enormous impact on my longevity and quality of life. As I’m determined 2013 will be a year of recovery and renewal for me. I am:
- starting over: working through pain and developing inner strength;
- coping with Arthritis and practicing 8 Fibromylagia therapies
- re-energizing after a lay-off;
- training my brain to become happier;
- cultivating positive thoughts and acting in positive ways;
- cutting multitasking time down;
- using Yoga,Tai Chi, mindfulness meditation and solitude to improve my coping skills;
- eating energizing snack foods for optimum health;
- doing some deep thinking and learning life lessons;
- enjoying teaching kids to make healthy snacks and lunches;
- and continuing to express myself through abstract art.
Brief time-outs break tension and release the mind and muscles from struggling to maintain balance. They need not be long but they are essential when it comes to coping well with stress.
Deep breathing and other many other forms of relaxation can reduce health risks associated with stress and help your restore balance.
There are countless techniques for preventing stress you can inject into your day. Here’s a summary of a few that work well for me:
- Personal affirmations are powerful. Why not begin an affirmation of the day exercise? If that doesn’t suit you then try reading uplifting quotations or Top Teachings on Meditation, Wisdom and Compassion.
- If you’re a visual person, buy some paints and try your hand at painting. Or pick up a pencil or pen and do some doodling. Try making mandalas: it’s a magical process. Enroll in an art therapy class to manage and relieve stress. Surround yourself with peaceful images. Borrow art books from library and take brief art appreciation breaks.
- If you’re a music lover experiment with both sounds and silence. Listen to spiritual music and/or try brief humming, spiritual chanting or singing breaks. Schedule some time for enjoying the sounds of nature without and electronic intrusion.
- If you tend to zone out or become hyperactive try aromatherapy. Fill your home or workspace with fragrant plants and cut flowers. Do some exploration and experimentation as I did and discover if Bach flower remedies are for you.
- Don’t overlook the healing power of tactile sensations. Walk your dog or stroke your cat. Book an appointment, try self massage or soak in a bubblebath. Take mini meditation breaks. If you have control over your surroundings at work then create a quiet and comfy space to unwind in.
Stress Relief Guide: Quick Tips for When You’re Short on Time is a short helpful guide containing the key components of an effective stress management program that works.
- Effective stress relief doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
- Mini–relaxations can help bring down your stress levels when you only have a few minutes to spare.
- It’s important to have a personalized plan for dealing with the stressors in your life.
Check out the free Bring Your Life Into Balance program toolkit for managing overwhelming stress and emotions.
As you look into a year ahead into your future what do you foresee?
Do you envision you will be leading much the same life you are leading now. Or are you making plans for a change?
There’s no better time than now to create a stress reduction plan that will put you on the path to living happier and healthier life.