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Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Headshot

One Minute To Stress Less

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Over the course of thousands and thousands of years our brains have become wired toward creating, fixing, solving, and basically just doing. It's been a great benefit; we have roofs over our heads, cars to drive, chairs to sit on and even this technology to connect around. But when it comes to our stress or uncomfortable emotions, the brain mistakenly uses the same approach and unknowingly make our stress and pain worse.

We can begin right now to train our brain with a more effective approach.

This is what I call the "BE" practice, and it can be experienced in one minute.

Note: First, see if you can set any judgments aside of whether this practice will or will not "work" for you. Engage this just with the goal of being aware of your experience.

  • Breathe -- Take a few deep breaths and as you breathe in, know that you're breathing in, and as you breathe out know that you breathing out. The instructions are very simple. You can even say to yourself, "in" as you're breathing in and "out" as you're breathing out. This is meant to pop you out of auto-pilot and steady your mind.
  • Expand -- This is the process of expanding your attention throughout the body and just feeling the body as it is. You may feel warmth or coolness, achiness, itchiness, tension, tightness, heaviness, lightness or a whole host of sensations. Or perhaps you notice no sensation at all in other areas. When you're here also be aware of how emotions are being expressed in the body. Stress may be tension in the chest or shoulders, calm may be looseness in the back or face. Whatever you notice, just practice allowing to be as it is without needing "to do" anything about it.

That's it! It may sound too simple to be impactful, but again, set your judgments aside and let your experience be your teacher.

Just practice being, breathing and expanding into the body in mini moments throughout the day to experience "The Now Effect," that space of awareness and choice that will lead you to a more balanced and mindful life.

To help you remember you might consider posting signs in your environment that say "Just BE," knowing that means to engage in the "BE" practice. Or maybe put a note in your digital calendar to pop up a couple times in the day as a reminder.

The benefits are enormous -- it just takes intention and practice.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom that we can all benefit from.

Adapted from "Mindfulness and Psychotherapy"http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/

For more by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.

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