Although this quote is roughly 2000 years old, we would be wise to heed its wisdom. The stress of the modern lifestyle can easily push us out of balance and into illness. Here are a couple simple strategies to re-introduce stillness back into your life.
Basic Mindfulness Practices
Another simple yet very effective method for stress relief and general health maintenance:
- Find a comfortable place to sit, either cross legged on a cushion or sitting on a chair
- Close your eyes and place both palms over your abdomen below your belly button
- Focus on your breath and feel it as it enters through your nostrils, all the way down to your abdomen
- Breathing slowly through your nose, draw the breath downwards, past the chest and diaphragm; you should feel your abdomen press outwards against your hands
- Continue breathing at a relaxed pace into your abdomen
- Once you feel comfortable with abdominal breathing, experiment with breathing into the sides of abdomen, and then your back: this can be done in a similar fashion by placing your hands over those areas while breathing
In addition to being a helpful daily practice, this simple exercise is a great tool for instant stress relief.
Before bedtime or in the morning or both:
- Wear comfortable clothing and find a room where you won’t be distracted
- Sit cross-legged or on a chair with your back straight
- Close your eyes and listen to the silence
- Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose
- As soon as the silence sets in, thoughts and sensations are bound to arise– as each thought or sensation arises, observe it impartially and then return to listening to the silence
- These thoughts or sensations will likely recur, sometimes only seconds after you release them.
- Expect this as part of the process and simply release them continually
- Soon the silence will become longer, and the mental chatter will become less
A daily practice of even as little as 10-15 minutes per morning or night will help with greater mental clarity, decreased stress, and can even help with insomnia if practiced before bedtime.