OMS De-Stress Exercise

An easy-to-remember strategy to help you manage the impact of everyday stressors, compiled by Ellyn Hutton, Alliance Committee Chair.

It’s as simple as ABC: Awareness. Breath. Compassion.

A: Bring AWARENESS to each moment.

 Too often, the day is spent oblivious to what’s happening. People fixate on something that has happened in the past or worry about an impending event in the future.

Is this how you want to live your life? Missing it completely?

Aim today to pay attention to what you are doing NOW, to focus on the present moment. Start with an embedded “mindless” practice, such as brushing your teeth, and focus on the NOW. As you extend this exercise to other activities of daily living, seeds of change will take root for expanded moments of awareness throughout the day.

What could be more important than now?

B: Focus on the BREATH as an anchor to bring your awareness to the now.

Practice this exercise:

  1. Sit in a chair or on the floor with the spine effortlessly aligned.
  2. Mentally count the duration of the inhale/exhale.
  3. Inhale for 3-4 seconds.
  4. Exhale for 3-4 seconds.

Now deepen the exhalation by contracting the abdominals, extending the exhalation to twice the length of the inhalation. Take your time and ease into this rhythm.

Practicing this 2:1 breathing pattern lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and reduces stress levels. It is even considered an effective modality in the treatment of essential hypertension. So, take it easy, exhale deeply and let go!

C: Be COMPASSIONATE with yourself.

You are doing the best you can. Life, work and family obligations can feel overwhelming and as if you have little time for yourself. So, throw some kindness and compassion into the mix as you begin to loosen the grips of anxiety, tension and your attachment to wanting everything to be perfect!

When being too hard on oneself, practice this loving kindness meditation:

“May I be at peace.

May I be calm.

May I live a life of ease.”

Repeating this mantra to yourself will help bring a sweet sense of relief.

As you continue with this meditation practice, begin to extend the

intention to others, even those who drive you crazy:

“May you be at peace.

May you be calm.

May you live a life of ease.”

Practitioners begin to nourish the seed of unconditional kindness and compassion to all, including themselves. Furthermore, Loving Kindness Meditation may offer a useful strategy for easing social anxiety, anger, interpersonal conflicts and the strain of long-term caregiving.

Enjoy the awareness of the present. It is a true gift.

Revel in each compassion-laced breath.

Sources:

Adhana, R., Gupta, R., Dvivedii, J, Ahmad, S. (2013). The influence of the 2:1 yogic breathing       technique on essential hypertension, Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.     Jan-Mar 2013;57(1):38-44.