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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mindful Practice 9

Getting up early in the morning, hurriedly getting dressed, downing some coffee and maybe a bite to eat, you jump in the car and race off to work.  You don't have time to spare but half-way there you get in a traffic jam.  Horns are honking, cars aren't moving, time's a wasting, and you are going to be late for work.  "What am I going to tell the boss?"  you think.  "I've already been late twice this year" you scream.  You can feel your blood pressure rise and your palms are sweaty.

 Here are three techniques you can use to help reduce stress that may crop up in your life from time to time:

1. Mindfully come into the present moment. Become fully aware of everything around you, right now. When your mind wanders bring it back to what's happening right nowBe fully present with what is.

2. Place the heels of your hands gently on your closed eyes with your fingers on your head.  Take in a deep breath and hold it for five seconds.  When you breathe out make a humming sound so that you can feel vibrations in your chest.  Do two more breaths.  This practice is called the Oculocardiac reflex.  It stimulates the vagus nerve and switches on the parasympathetic nervous system - the relaxing part of the autonomic nervous system.

3. Take in a deep breath.  Wrap your arms around yourself and hug tightly while breathing out.  Squeeze!  Slowly release the hug and take a deep breath in, spreading your arms apart as if you are going to fly.  Visualize clean, pure oxygen pouring into every pore and cell of your body.  Do this hugging practice a few more times until you have flushed all the toxins and stress out of your body.

Warning!  Do not practice exercises 2 and 3 while driving or operating heavy machinery.

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