Exercise is one of the most potent stress-reducers on the planet -- and yet, in the irony of ironies, it's the one thing far too many of us don't make time for. There are lots of reasons why, but the fact is the idea of working out can create enough stress that you skip it -- and miss out on a boatload of mind and body benefits.
We're coming up on one of my favorite times of the year: that time, just after spring breaks out but before summer begins, in which thousands of college graduates are released into the world. And as they go forth we give them lots of advice. The advice varies, sometimes conflicts, but the general idea is: Here is what you need to know in order to succeed in the world. This year my book tour is taking me to a lot of colleges, and my first piece of advice is to start by defining success for yourself -- by being clear about what you want, what you value and what you are about. But to do that, we need to abandon, or at least mitigate, some of the worst practices of the adult world that students are already mired in: burnout, sleep deprivation, stress and anxiety. This is all the more important because this generation is starting out their adult lives burdened with multiple deficits.
If you feel immobilized, stuck, captive or feel you do not control your life, it doesn't have to be that way. You can live both free and freely. It just requires reframing your beliefs to release the shackles that bind you. Since Passover lasts for eight days, here are eight steps to exodus from your bondage using Passover as an acronym.
Meditation can lift you up if you let it. It lightens your burdens, and in a way it gives you a facelift, too! You'll be smiling more, stressing less and walking with a little more pep in your step. You feel better, and because of this, you look better, too. The peace of mind literally shows on your face.
I also see a worrisome trend afoot. Increasingly, mindfulness is being equated with stress reduction or learning how to center under pressure to enhance performance. This is cause for alarm. The intention of mindfulness is not to make us more "chill" with the insanities and inanities of our post-modern lives.