It's In Your Focus
Two Strategies to Use Now
New studies continue to come out with findings that show the specific effects stress has on our physical health: increasing the risk of heart attack, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. There's some encouraging news, too, however, which suggests that health outcomes can be significantly improved by altering the way we deal with stress.¹
Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, I thought I'd use today's issue to remind you of two strategies you can incorporate to reduce the effects of stress. Both utilize the power of focus. One is a planning routine I call Short & Mighty and the other is an in-the-moment meditation practice that you can do almost anywhere.
Short & Mighty
This planning routine trains you to sharpen the skill of selecting your focus. First, look out to the next several weeks. I usually do this in 90-day increments (by season or business quarter), and since we're about a month into Spring, for our purposes, let's think about the next 60 days:
Getting things out of your head and onto paper will give you an increased sense of control. Then, by distilling any monster to-do lists down to something shorter, you're making it easier to focus and take action, while also leaving room for those things that just come up and can't be planned. This is a combination of proactively moving things forward, being realistic, and remaining flexible.
It's In Your Hands
Now for an easy meditation you can do almost anywhere and with eyes open. It requires no training, and all you need to be able to do is count to ten. It's the OASIS in the Overwhelm strategy called 1-Stone: Place a stone or any object of comfort in the palm of your hand. With your eyes open, take ten easy breaths, in and out, as you look at the stone. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the stone and your breath.
This simple technique is a way to rebalance even if your surroundings are noisy or chaotic. My friend Millie Grenough first learned it from the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh who carried a stone in his pocket as a way to find calm, even on the village streets in wartime Vietnam. Carrying a stone with you or having one on your desk will remind you that finding your calm is in the palm of your hand. You can also do a variation of 1-Stone that I'll name 1-Sky and, you guessed it, all you have to do is look up at the sky as you take ten relaxing breaths.
This Week's Call To Action:
Your calm. Your effectiveness.
Here's to you,
"Feeling anxious and stressed is linked with a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack -- the same effect smoking five cigarettes a day has on the heart, the New York Daily News reported."
"Researchers at the University of Miami found that undergoing a Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Management program seemed to have a positive effect on breast cancer patients' immune system cells... The results suggest that the stress management intervention mitigates the influence of the stress of cancer treatment and promotes recovery over the first year."
Huffington Post: Stress Health Effects: 10 Scary Things It's Doing To Your Body
University of Miami, Press Release: Stress Management Improves Breast Cancer Outcomes
Current of Life, by Virginia Kravitz, is a free, biweekly ezine for accomplished professionals who want to have more fulfilling careers and lives. Each issue provides practical guidance and inspiration to embrace a new and joyful momentum as you navigate the important decisions of your life. As a subscriber, you have exclusive access to special events such as teleclasses, call-in days, program previews, and Current Conversations, a monthly community call.
Learn more about my unique approach which incorporates the Five Stages of Living in the Current.
© 2013, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved.
You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration,
includes the copyright line above, and a link to www.inthecurrent.com, if distributing electronically.