When life gets chaotic or like a turbulent roller coaster ride of change, what is your first reaction? Do you look for ways to stabilize your life, have racing thoughts, or do you breathe and turn inward to focus? Stress itself is not dangerous, but our belief about what it can do to us, can be. Nick Tasler from the Harvard Business Review suggests you focus on the problems or specific changes that are stressing you out instead of the emotions that come along with them. Concentrating on values rather than fears is another suggestion for reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.
When problems, emotions, and chaos relentlessly come at you, it can seem impossible to slow down and go within, but activities like Yoga, breathing exercises, reading, positive self-talk, and meditation help you tune out what is beyond your control. Then, you can focus on your pace, attitude, confidence, and behavior – things in your control. There is some evidence that listening to music can decrease our bodies’ stress response too. Neuroscientist, Dr. Daniel J. Levitin, along with Dr. Mona Lisa Chanda, led research on how music affects the immune system and found tunes boost immune response. Listening to music is more effective than medications as a stress reducer prior to surgery too!
Did you know that people who consistently practice meditation, develop slower breathing which in turn produces calmness? According to an article published in Scientific American, this is true. “Breathing is about staying alive on one level, but it’s also connected to emotional life,” says Christopher Del Negro, neurophysiologist. Breath and meditation are more closely connected than originally anticipated which means your breathing may be the first place to find calm. Meditation and mindfulness practices can also reduce pain, and lower inflammation levels. In an article in Psychology Today, Emma M. Seppala, refers to meditation as “mental hygiene.” It might be just the brain floss you need to keep everything clear!