Reading the daily news headlines can be depressing and stressful, but at the same time it’s important to remain aware, right? So how do we stay positive in light of it? Why not turn off the electronic noise for a moment, step back, and take a breath.
What it Means to Breathe
In a resting state, adults average 12 to 20 breaths a minute. So how does focusing on one’s breath make everything better? According to Dr. Andrew Weil, it’s the way we breathe that can make a difference for stress and health. He recommends using three different breathing techniques to stimulate or relax the mind and body. Learn more about his techniques here: http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/stress-anxiety/breathing-three-exercises/.
Turn the Focus Away from You
I have A LOT of bird feeders in my backyard. At any moment, there are 10-20 species of birds pecking, flying, swooping, chirping, and singing. The simple act of resting my eyes on all of the activity allows me to “get outside of my head,” and enjoy the beauty of the moment. The key is to obtain a state of flow, say psychologists, by focusing on THE NOW instead of the future.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Surrounded by people and sounds of the city? Too much chaos around you to take time out with nature? Try focusing on something funny instead. Pu-Tai, also known as the Laughing Buddha, would travel from town to town spreading enlightenment through laughter.
“There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.” – Buddha
Laughter relieves stress and can be a powerful tool in the healing of the mind and body.*
- Laughter relaxes the whole body
- Laughter boosts the immune system.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins.
- Laughter protects the heart.
- Laughter burns calories.
- Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load.
- Laughter may even help you to live longer.
I Don’t Have Time for That
Still trapped in negative thoughts and worry? Try finding something, anything, to be grateful about. Get creative and focus on unlikely things like thanking the sun for shining, the stars for sparkling, the moon for glowing, the grass for growing; once you begin to focus on things to be grateful about – no matter how outlandish your thoughts may seem – you begin to feel better.
Maintaining a positive focus in light of life’s challenges is not always easy. It takes work to shift thought patterns, and sometimes it may be necessary to focus on a not-so-pleasant thought in order to get past it. Reach out to others when you need to, seek outside resources when you need to, and remember to love yourself in the process.