Stress Management in Minutes

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Whenever stress strikes, at work, at the dentist, arriving late, or when suddenly confronted with bad news, you need to dial it way back and regain control. Stress can be positive too--an engagement, a promotion, a wedding. But positive or negative stress leaves its imprint on your mind, your body, your nerves. Successfully managing stress symptoms can energize you. When stress is out of control it can cause you to balloon up in weight, forget important details or lose your creative edge.

When you feel nervous, upset, frustrated or overloaded cut through the stress with this brief meditation. 

Find a comfortable place to sit, apart from others if possible. If not, stay where you are. This meditation technique can be used without attracting attention or disturbing others. You could be in the corner of a crowded meeting room, in your office chair, in a parked car or on a plane. Use it wherever and whenever you need stress relief. 

Breathe deeply and mentally transport yourself.

Half close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, slowly inhaling and exhaling, as you picture yourself in a place that you love. It could be the beach at sunset, the cozy sunroom in your home, or your patio overflowing with flowers and greenery. Just focus on that spot. Feel the breeze and the sun's warmth on your skin or the warm glow from your fireplace. Remember the familiar textures. See the rich colors as you slowly breathe in to a count of five and breathe out to a count of five. Repeat this slow, focused breathing for a few minutes. Ideally, take at least five minutes or as much as ten if the situation allows, letting oxygen flow through your body as you picture yourself in your favorite place, content and happy. 

When you are done slowly pull the shade down on that special picture. Save the vision for later, whenever you need quick stress relief. Open your eyes and look around. You will find yourself refreshed, better prepared to resume whatever you were doing, and less likely to crave rich foods, gulp glasses of wine or demolish a pack of cigarettes.

No equipment or special preparation is needed.

This brief stress reduction technique can be used almost anywhere. After trying it once or twice you may find it quite easy to slip into. All you need is a relatively quiet place to sit for a few minutes and the mind-picture that pleases you. Consider using it when you are flying, when you are kept waiting for appointments, when you encounter unexpected surprises or circumstances just become overwhelming. As you use this meditation you may want to experiment a bit. You may want to use more than one peaceful place to visualize. You may use the meditation to start or end your day at work or as a brief time-out at lunch. Use it wherever it works for you. In the midst of our 24-7 culture it could be your best energy secret, a much-needed stress delete button.

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