Your life is crazy, and sometimes you feel overwhelmed. You would like to relax and be more peaceful, more resilient. You need some good stress reduction technique.
You’ve heard about meditation, and it seems it could do the trick.
Could you, like these Tibetan monks, stay confident and unmoved even under the worst hardship?
It seems relatively straightforward: sit and do nothing for ten minutes, and poof, here come the benefits, right?
Mindfulness is the new kale.
Meditation and its religion-free variant, mindfulness, has been praised as a cure for all. According to some studies, it would fix focus, self-esteem, stress, anxiety, addiction, chronic pain, and not least, egoism.
With such evidence, it is hard to resist. It is the new kale, the new Yoga, the new plant-based diet. In one word: it is a modern miracle cure.
However, there are reasons why you should not start meditating before you have mastered some other much more straightforward techniques.
You don’t start with an Ultraman triathlon.
The Ultraman triathlon is a 3-day race that covers 320 miles in running, bicycling, and swimming. It is not the first one you try.
Before, you usually do several triathlons. And before, a beginner triathlon. And before, you would have trained in running, swimming, and cycling for several months.
Long story short, you don’t start with the most challenging race.
Yet, when people start doing meditation, they begin with the Ultraman triathlon of relaxation techniques. Mindfulness is much more complicated than it seems.
Why do you think there are so many books and apps about it? It requires lots of practice, discipline, and self-control.
Many of us will never run a triathlon. And many of us will never stick to a meditation routine. We are not all monks.
Still, we can get most of the same benefits with less demanding anxiety reduction techniques, as we can benefit from regular jogging instead of a triathlon.
Try the home remedies of stress reduction techniques
We somewhat forgot about it, but many simple techniques can help you slow the frantic pace of your day and find your inner peace.
Exercise is a straightforward stress reduction technique. If there is one thing that every doctor, every trainer, every self-appointed health guru agree on, it is this: exercise is good for you. So do something you like, breathe, pump these endorphins in your body, and you will feel the relief.
Take a (small) break.
Small breaks are beneficial to reduce stress and improve productivity. It is easy to forget when you work from home, but you are entitled to break time: take a long coffee, watch the passersby, take a short nap in the garden, call a friend. Everything is okay as long as you pause in your day.
Take a walk
If you are not into exercise, you can at least walk. It has almost the same benefits, and it does not require any preparation. It can be just using your feet instead of your car to fetch some groceries.
Have a good laugh
“Laughter is the best medicine” is a famous saying, and it is true. It does not need to be smart: watch some silly comedy or late-night show, and it will relax your whole body and help you reset from your grueling day.
Write your stress away.
Writing a journal could be an excellent anxiety reduction technique by clarifying your thought and desires, accepting your success, and diminishing your fears. The practice is also a moment with yourself and a welcome pause.
Carpe diem: practice hedonism
Hedonism is the practice of seeking pleasure over suffering. It does not mean pleasure at all costs, just that you deserve some fun, without guilt. Listen to music, party with friends, drink some wine, read a good book – or all of that together. You deserve it.
Take a (big) break.
Europeans know that: vacations make you healthy! Too many Americans skip vacations, or when they finally go, bring their work with them. The guilt factor and social pressure are real, but the benefit of holidays for both productivity and well being is too high to ignore. So go for it, and cut the cord!
Pet a kitty.
Spending intimate time with a cat or a dog has a positive impact on your health and sanity. It reduces blood pressure, releases relaxation hormones, makes you generally happier and more confident.
Take a walk on the wild side.
Sex is a great anxiety reduction technique. A satisfying sex life improves your mood and makes you less susceptible to stress. It releases endorphin, you natural feel-good hormones, enhances your intimate relationship and is a physical workout. So go for it, unleash the beast.
Don’t start; end with meditation.
You know all these stress reduction techniques, and there is a good chance you already practice some of them. They don’t require learning, having a coach, or reading a book. And they all contribute to your well being.
They have something in common, though: they all require to take some time for yourself. Before you accept that you can take time and breathe, there is no point in trying mindfulness. You won’t stick to it.
You see, most meditation practitioners were long-time health-conscious, relaxation-savvy people before they started. Like most kale-eaters were plant-based or vegan before.
But once you master your relaxation routine, by all means, try mindfulness. It is a powerful stress reduction technique, and it will add another string to your bow.