Discover the Power
of Stress Shields
Stress shields are strategies and practices that you can use to protect yourself from the harmful effects of stress.
One of the most powerful stress shields is mindfulness, because it helps to cultivate a sense of calm and inner peace, even in the midst of challenging circumstances.
Mindfulness is the ability to be wherever you are in the moment, and just in that moment.
Taking time to pause and breathe encourages a state of mind that’s open, present and nonjudgmental. It’s a snowball effect, because you learn to observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment, and you become more aware of the present moment. This helps you to respond to stressful situations with greater clarity and equanimity, rather than simply reacting out of habit or impulse.
Making tea or coffee in the morning can be more than just a routine. It can be a mindful practice that helps you start your day with awareness and calm. The trick is too slow down and pay attention to the sensations of each step.
Here’s how you can turn your morning brew into a mindfulness exercise…
Mindfulness can even rewire your brain!
A study followed a group of unemployed people who were looking for work and experiencing high stress levels. The group was split into two parts: one group practiced formal meditation and mindfulness, while the other group did stretching exercises while talking and joking.
The meditative group was able to better handle the stress of unemployment, and their brain scans showed increased communication among the parts of the brain related to stress and the parts that process calm and focused reactions.
Even those who had stopped meditating had lower levels of unhealthy inflammation four months after the study, likely due to the positive changes in the brain.
Here are a few sensations to concentrate on while mindfully making your morning coffee..of in my case, tea.
- Listen closely to each sound that is created, from the bubbling of the water to the tea sizzling when hot water is poured on top of it.
- Notice the color of the water change, little by little, as the tea steeps.
- Enjoy the fragrance as your tea continues to brew.
- Taste your morning blend, and notice how your tastebuds detect the subtle flavors.
- Hold the mug in your hands, while closing your eyes and focusing on the warming feeling in the palms of your hands.
- Feel the steam as it lightly touches your cheeks while sipping the hot liquid.
- Notice being completely present in the moment. This is mindfulness.