Tag Archives: emotions

Mind Over Stress: One Minute Mindfulness Activities

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Stress happens to the best of us. There are pressures at work and at home. Daily meditation and mindfulness practices help to reduce overall stress and anxiety and support focus. Sometimes, however, you just need a quick reset to get grounded. Below are seven of my favorite mindfulness activities that can help you to regain balance.

  1. Paced breathing

Find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably with your feet on the floor. Close your eyes or focus on an immovable object in the room. Take a deep breath in for six counts, filling your belly. Hold the breath for four counts and then breath out for eight counts. Repeat 4-5 times.

  1. Visual Imagery

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Imagine you are in your favorite place. It could be the beach, your garden, on a mountain top, anywhere that you find peace. Notice the sounds and smells of your favorite place. The temperature? Is it cold or warm? Look around at the things that makes this your peaceful place. Take a deep breath and slowly open your eyes.

  1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Sit or lay down in a comfortable space. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Beginning at your toes, tighten your muscles and hold for 5-10 seconds and then release. Continue to your calves, thighs, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and face. Tense your muscles, hold and release.

  1. 3 Senses

Your senses ground you to this place and this time. Look around the room and notice three things that you can see. Then identify three things that you can hear. Finally, notice three things that you can smell.

  1. Cup of Tea

This activity may take a bit longer than a minute if you need to heat the water, but is well worth it. Choose a tea of your liking and breath in the scent. Slowly pour hot water over tea in a cup. Notice the change in aroma. Hold the cup with both hands, absorbing the warmth as the tea steeps. Focus on each step in the process of making the tea.

  1. Candle Watching

The light of fire is mesmerizing. Light a candle and focus on its flame for one minute. Notice the way it flickers in the air. See the changes in color from the center to the outside of the flame. Extinguish the flame and notice the scent that remains on the air.

  1. Eating Mindfully

Need a chocolate fix? Chocolate is a great stressbuster, especially if you take time to eat it mindfully. The goal is to eat the chocolate as slowly as possible. Open the wrapper slowly, inhale the aroma of the rich chocolate. Take a small bite and focus on how the chocolate melts on your tongue, filling your mouth with smooth sweetness.

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Creating a Culture of Wellness: Emotional Wellness (Part 1)

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Wellness is a holistic way of managing life. When health permeates every part of the human experience, wellness is present. The National Wellness Institute (www.nationalwellness.org) identifies six dimensions of wellness including:

  • Emotional
  • Occupational
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

As we move into this new year and look forward to what will unfold for us, focusing on creating a culture of wellness will enrich our lives in 2017. Over the next several weeks, we will explore each of the dimensions of wellness, beginning with our emotions.

Developing Emotional Wellness

No matter how mature or “together” we appear to the world, each of us has the ability to improve our emotional intelligence.

  1. Set and maintain clear boundaries

The foundation of emotional wellness consists of setting clear boundaries. It is easy to agree to take on projects, join committees or do favors for others without thinking through the impact of the commitment on your time and energy.

Practice saying yes only to requests that you want to engage in and are willing to participate in. A firm but polite “no” will be accepted by most people without question.

  1. Know your emotions

Take time to identify the emotions behind your response. When you are tempted to react in anger, check to see if the anger is fueled by fear or sadness. When you recognize the underlying emotion, it is easier to advocate for yourself and get your needs met in a healthy manner.

Tend to the root of the emotions. Take time to journal, exercise, garden or spend time with caring people. Nurture yourself.

  1. Advocate for your needs

Sometimes you need a break or a helping hand. Asking for support when necessary reduces stress and helps to reduce emotional roller coasters. Ask early, ask often.

  1. Practice Radical Acceptance

Sometimes situations are beyond the scope of our control. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval or giving in It is recognition of the facts of a situation. We can rail against the rain and wind, but the storm will continue because it is out of our control. Acceptance is choosing not to fight the storm and invite more suffering into our lives.

  1. Resolve trauma history

If you have a history of trauma or abuse, find a qualified mental health practitioner to support you in breaking down the barriers to emotional health. Learn to tell your story, acknowledging painful times and joyous times.

  1. Give yourself grace

Healing, like life, does not progress in a neat orderly fashion. We move forward and make progress only to be tripped up and lose ground. If today was not your best day, be gentle with yourself, treat yourself well, and begin again tomorrow.