April is National Stress Awareness Month

Americans are stressed. We stress about our jobs, the economy, our health, global warming, and pretty much everything. According to the American Psychological Association, “more than 75% of adult Americans report experiencing stress at levels that exceed what they define as healthy.”

What’s more, our stress is worrying our kids, too. More than 80% of children of stressed parents know that their parents are stressed and are bothered by it. And though we know we need to be doing a better job at managing our stress, most of us say that we don’t have the time or don’t know how. (APA’s “Stress in America Study“)

Welcome to April, National Stress Awareness Month! Here at Mindful Hands, we are devoted to helping you live a gentler life, including providing resources to help you manage your stress. Gary Goodwin, of The Inner Arts Center, is our in-house stress management expert. In addition to running the monthly “Stress Reduction for Busy People,” Gary offers these techniques for “on the fly” relaxation:

On-the-fly relaxation techniques are numerous, and in most ways, more effective than one or two meditation sessions per day. These regular world techniques are totally portable, invisible to others, and simple to work in.

  • Deep Breathing – Four or five cycles of breathing in, down to the belly and out really takes the edge off.
  • Sensory Mindfulness – Tune gently away from your thoughts and feelings and listenn to the sounds around you for a few seconds. Repeat for 30 seconds or up to a few minutes.
  • Calming Imagery – Bring to your mind’s eye any image that strikes you as calming (your last vacation, a favorite pet, etc.). Hold onto the image or make it more vivid for a minute or two. Feel the greater calm.

No cross-legged position required for any of these. No seclusion necessary. Invisible to everyone else but you know what really is going on. You are de-stressing, when you need it, within your regular life, all on the fly.

To learn more relaxation techniques, attend Gary’s free monthly workgroup: Stress Reduction for Busy People and read more about relaxation techniques at his blog: Stress Reduction for Busy People.

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