REDUCING STRESS & ANXIETY
Here are some resources that can help ease general stress and support relaxation:
A great strategy for when you feel the need to “catch your breath during a stressful moment.
Mindfulness Music great music to listen to help with Focus, Concentration, and Relaxation.
If you find Mindfulness helpful here are some great videos to support you with meditation and breathing.
A great list of videos with family and child-focused yoga classes.
A great starter video for some Yoga fun with your child.
Build up a sweat as you build your family bonding time.
Download an Application to help with stress reduction. These are available on the Apple and Android platforms.
Mindful Body (Mindful Posture)
From a seated position, face forward with your back upright. Think of your spine as if a tree is growing through you; feet rooted to the ground and the crown of your head elevated toward the sky. Feet are flat on the floor (if you are seated in a chair) and hands are in a relaxed position in the lap or by your sides.
If you choose to practice mindfulness as a way to fall asleep, you can modify the posture to a lying down position.
The body is still and quiet
Your mind and body are relaxed but alert, and your eyes are closed (or softened gaze).
Practice 30 seconds to a minute of mindful posture. Notice how it feels, comparing the difference between slouching, highly alert, and mindful body
Mindful Breathing/Breathing at Anchor and Noticing Thoughts As They Arise
Begin by getting into mindful posture. Notice the breath at your anchor. “The anchor" refers to where you feel the breath in the body most prominently (for most, that will be either in the belly, chest, or nose).
Calmly breathe in and out, focusing attention at the anchor. There is no need to force the breath. Let it flow in and out naturally, feeling the rhythm of the in-breath and the out-breath at your anchor
When you notice the mind wandering from the breath/anchor, label thoughts "thinking" and gently return the focus back to your breath at your anchor.
These skills need practice and they build over time. Practice when you are not stressed so that you can use the skills when you are stressed. Examples: you could practice in the morning, at night before bed, or before a test or sporting event.
Start with practicing a minute or two, then work your way up to 5-10 minutes of practice. The more times you practice and the longer you practice, the more helpful mindfulness will be as a coping strategy when you need it. Likewise, it will become more than a “doing” (action), but will also become a “way of being” (state)
Heartfulness for Self/Others
This is about sending kind thoughts to others or sending kindness to yourself.
It can be helpful when you are experiencing strained relationships, miscommunications, or when you are being hard on yourself
Begin by getting into a mindful posture, centering your attention on your breath at your anchor
After a few mindful breaths, visualize the person (or yourself) doing something that makes them happy. Begin slowly sending kind thoughts, for example: "I wish to be happy, I wish to be healthy, I wish to be peaceful" or some variant of these.
Fully feel each statement, one statement per breath. Repeat the wishes a few times. Notice how you feel-- is there a relaxing or softening in your heart/body/mind? Do you feel more balanced and ready to communicate? Is it easier to be less judgmental about the person’s behavior or your own feelings?
Come out of the heartfulness practice by focusing a few breaths at your anchor.