Consider the numbers: two-thirds of US citizens report they are facing stress-related problems. While stress isn’t limited to life-threatening or survival-related situations (when, for instance, a firefighter is able to catch a child from the second storey of a burning building), we do find ourselves in state of stress every day “thanks” to our emotions, thoughts, or physical sensations.
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For so many of us, thinking about our current financial situation or the upcoming exam or parents’ visit is enough to trigger a stressful reaction that can obscure our thinking and impact our physical and mental health, and signal the onset of muscle tension, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, stomach problems, immune system issues...
The good news is, we can learn to change the way we relate to stress, which can, ultimately, help us take the reigns of control back in our hands and curb the negative effects of our stress response. This change comes via the ability to “drop in the present moment,” the practice of clearing a minute or two in the day to just stop and look at things from a different perspective.
Find below a short 4-step S.T.O.P. practice that you may want to incorporate into your day to learn the way of controlling your response to the stimuli.
Step one S:
Do actually Stop. Cease all activity.
Take just a few minutes out of each day to bring yourself to a state of calm and wellness and balance your life using a combination of guided meditations and mindfulness techniques. The techniques are a simple, practical relaxation method for anyone.
Step two. T:
Take a couple of deep breaths. Let your breath flow naturally, concentrate on the way you breathe. If it helps, you can repeat in as you inhale and out as you exhale.
READ MORE: 8 meditation techniques for beginners
Step three. O:
Observe what’s inside you and around you, but don’t judge or analyze. Reflect only on what’s on your mind, notice how you are feeling, what you are thinking, your bodily sensations, the sounds, smells around you.
Thoughts are not facts, the flow and change and are not set in stone. Putting a name to a particular emotion you are feeling already can have a calming effect. What about your posture, are sitting or standing, feeling sore or relaxed?
Step four. P:
Proceed with an action that will calm and please you. Have a cup of tea, talk to a friend.
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Try to experiment with this STOP practice at different locations, during various activities at various times.
READ MORE: Relax before sleep with bedtime meditation
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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