Yoga and meditation
The body’s natural relaxation response is a powerful remedy to stress. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can help you activate this relaxation response. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your happiness and inner peace.
Deep breathing for stress relief
With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Deep breathing is at the foundation of many other relaxation practices as well and may be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music. The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you receive, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel. The next time you feel stressed, take a minute to slow down and breathe deeply. Inhale deeply through your nose, and exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
Yoga for stress relief
Yoga is an excellent stress relief technique. It involves a series of both moving and stationary poses, combined with deep breathing. The physical and mental benefits of yoga provide a natural counterbalance to stress, and strengthen the relaxation response in your daily life.
Mindfulness meditation for stress relief
Meditation that cultivates mindfulness is particularly effective at reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. Mindfulness is the quality of being fully engaged in the present moment, without analyzing or otherwise “over-thinking” the experience. Rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, mindfulness meditation switches the focus to what’s happening right now.
Body scanning, otherwise known as Jung-Sim-Ju (定心住) Therapy, cultivates mindfulness by focusing your attention on the pain spot of your body. You will be taught to start with your feet and work your way up, focusing on the way each part of your body feels without labeling the sensations as either “good” or “bad”. If you feel comfortable while focusing on your feet, gradually shift your focus as you move up onto the part of your body where you feel pain, all the while remaining calm and at peace.