Did you know that on average, 59% of people have at least one stressful moment in a one year period? Stress can come in many forms and is triggered by a multitude of events. Experiencing increased levels of stress can decrease the body's production of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that help fight a cold and flu. If you’re like me, you’ve spent time Googling ways to reduce stress and tried a variety of different methods, but I’ve found that practicing mindfulness is the best and lasting solution.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing on your thoughts and working to understand them without judgment. It’s also understanding that there is a right way and a wrong way to feel during specific situations including a project at work, a disagreement with your partner, and many more.
This self-reflection and understanding can be done as often as you need. We recommend that you start twice a week, mid-week and once on the weekend. There are a variety of benefits when you practice mindfulness meditation:
- Reduce stress by focusing on the moment and thinking of what caused the stress
- Improve your relationships with your coworkers, friends, and family
- Increases your working memory, which is part of the short-term memory that is related to immediate conscious perceptual and linguistic processing
- Helps control your emotions and reduces your how quickly you may overreact to a situation
- Boosts your level of focus so you don’t start a task and not finish it
- Sharpens your cognitive flexibility so you can multitask if needed
Activities to Reduce Your Stress and Improve Your Immune System
There isn’t one specific style of a mindfulness activity that you must do to relieve stress. We recommend any of the following:
- Meditation: Reduce negative thoughts, exercise your body, and let your mind process situations that may be causing you stress or other symptoms
- Journaling: Writing down your current thoughts allow your mind to process them and allow you to let go of certain thoughts and feelings
- Breathing Sessions: Focus on breathing in and out for one to two minutes. Inhale for 10 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. Repeat this process four to five times. FitTrack Atria has built-in guided breathing sessions to help
- Daily Appreciation: Reflect on your day and try to take notice of three things that you usually don’t notice or focus on. These may bring you joy and reduce stress
We hope that the above helps reduce your stress and improve your health. Some of the methods may work better than others. We recommend setting a recurring reminder in your phone to remind you to practice mindfulness. You will need to stay committed to see and feel the benefits of the practice.