When we are stressed by any internal or external factors, our fight-or-flight response is activated: our heart-rate spikes, digestion system shuts down. This constant stress mode negatively affects our mental and physical health. So you’d probably agree that it is essential to manage your stress levels. But how effective are you at doing this?
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The secret to calming down is activating the so-called “relaxation response,” or “rest and digest” mode. Here’s where meditation techniques come in handy.
If you think that meditation means sitting cross-legged for a really long time, which does not sound very comfortable and time-saving, - you’re not entirely correct. Your goal is to declutter your mind, relax and breathe mindfully. What are the benefits? Your heart rate and respiration slows down, blood pressure drops, attention span increases. Dedicating just 10 minutes of your busy schedule to meditation might be enough.
First of all, let yourself focus on your breathing. A quick breathing exercise should help you release the tension and destress. Sit tall, roll back your shoulders, elongate your spine, let your lungs expand.
#1. Inhale through your nose, extend your belly at the same time.
#2. Exhale through your nose, deflate your belly at the same time.
#3. Count to 5 as you inhale and extend your belly, hold your breath for another 5 counts, then exhale and deflate your belly counting to 5.
#4. Once you’re used to inhaling, holding your breath and exhaling for the count of 5, lengthen your exhale for a couple of counts.
Now, let’s modify this short breathing exercise into a 10-minute breath meditation.
#1. Sit on a chair with your feet on the floor, or sit cross-legged, or sit on your meditation cushion (if the last is the case, let your knees fall lower than your hips). Be comfortable.
#2. Roll your shoulders back.
Take just a few minutes out of each day to bring yourself to a state of calm and wellness and balance your life using a combination of guided meditations and mindfulness techniques. The techniques are a simple, practical relaxation method for anyone.
#3. Let your hands take the position most comfortable for you. Rest them on your knees or legs, palms up or down.
#4. Breathe using the technique described above. Be mindful about your breathing patterns and your sensations as you breathe: are you breathing fast or slow? How does it feel when you extend and collapse your belly?
#5. Keep breathing for 10 minutes.
#6. If you catch your mind straying, acknowledge those thoughts and sensations, then gently revert your attention back to breathing.
#7. Gradually start extending your exhales.
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#8. Alternatively, you can exhale through your mouth by quietly saying the word “ha”.
Those 10 minutes will fly by very quickly! And soon, you’ll notice that you’ve become calmer, less stressed, more focused.
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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