Mindful

Most people I meet would like to be calmer and more focused on what matters in the moments of their lives. But the more stressed we are, the less open we are to creative ideas and the more prone we are to procrastination.

Here are three simple remedies for a stressed-out mind that will give you the ability to come down from a busy mind and into your life.

When you’re stressed:

1. Slow down. Literally. Whatever you’re doing—walking, talking, typing, even driving—start doing it at slightly slower pace. The brain activity starts to mimic what the body is doing, so if we move slightly slower, our mind starts to move slightly slower and those flurry of stressed-out thoughts start to cool down.

2. Soften the body. Our body is usually tensed-up and contracting during stress. We don’t notice it, but that’s what we come home with—achy shoulders, an achy body, and so we want to actively soften the body or adjust the body or notice how it needs to be moved. If we’re slumping over, maybe we want to stand up straight. Take a moment in the day to stretch out the shoulders and the chest. Roll the shoulders.

3. Be mindful of a simple task. Any simple task. One thing we know about the brain is that when we’re paying attention to one thing at a time, it’s inversely correlated with the busyness of the mind. When one is up, the other is down.

Whether you’re walking or washing dishes, listening to a friend, or eating, be mindful of that one simple thing.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is hosting an online course to help people fully integrate mindfulness into their lives in a deep way in order to realize more enduring change. The in-depth 6-month online course called A Course in Mindful Living  runs in fall 2017—the waitlist is now open.
Elisha Goldstein

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and conducts a private practice in West Los Angeles. He is creator of the 6-month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion (Atria Books, 2015), The Now Effect (Atria Books, 2012), Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler (Atria Books, 2013), and co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger, 2010).

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