Read this great article on stress:
Here’s the teaser…
(CNN) — The gloomy days of January can be the most miserable and stressful of the year, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you follow this ten step guide to destressing your life, then the next few weeks just might become the most serene and fulfilling ones of the year.
One step should be carried out on each of the next 10 days. They’re based on the ideas found in the international best-seller “Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.”
The book uses a program based on mindfulness meditation developed by us at Oxford University in the United Kingdom to relieve anxiety, stress, exhaustion and depression. Mindfulness has proved in some clinical trials to be at least as effective as drugs or counseling for dealing with these conditions.
So what is this mindfulness?
It is quite simply paying full, whole-hearted attention. A typical meditation involves paying full attention to the breath as it flows in and out of the body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them. You come to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and ultimately, you have a choice about whether to act on them.
Mindfulness is about observation without criticism and being compassionate with yourself. When unhappiness or stress hovers overhead, rather than taking it all personally, you learn to treat it as if it was a black cloud in the sky, and to observe it with friendly curiosity as it drifts past.
Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability. When these negative thoughts arise, they dissolve away again more easily. Other studies have shown that people who regularly meditate see their doctors less often and spend fewer days in hospital. Memory improves, creativity increases and reaction times become faster.
Here are 10 ways to decrease stress and increase mindful meditation in your life: