Simple Living Mindful Relaxation to Reduce Stress

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Last weekend my family traveled to the Skyline Drive in Virginia to visit my brother-in-law. It was a peaceful weekend – hiking, eating, hanging out. We had time to meditate, do yoga and drink tea, and let that be the only thing on our mind. It was pure relaxation.

During one of our hikes along the Appalachian Trail, my brother-in-law shared some of the 12 step programs from Alcoholics Anonymous. One step was about “turning it over.” This means when you have expectations about something that you can’t necessarily control, that you should turn it over to faith – what ever-larger power you believe in.

I have my own version of this. It’s a song I sing to myself (and other people close to me when they are freaking out). The song is simple, to the tune of “Let it, Snow,” except it’s “Let it go, let it go, let it go.” This helps me bring myself to a relaxed state.

It’s not every day I’m on a mountain in the sunshine. More likely, I’m in my office with a to-do list or trying to make dinner and school lunches and oversee homework. Any number of directions is pulling at me and frankly, I’m not alone. This is life. But we need to know how to bring ourselves down when it gets to be too much.

Last night I was visiting with a friend from San Francisco who told me about her teacher friend in Massachusetts who teaches a one week class on mindful relaxation. The class is for college-age students. Even though this is a no-credit class, it’s packed. Why? Because this is what we need. My friend went on to say that Stanford is now offering a similar class.

A big part of the Reduction Rebel lifestyle is reducing stress. So if a mindful relaxation class is not available to you, I’d like to offer the following suggestions for purposefully helping yourself get to a relaxed state.

1. Practice some art therapy. This can be as simple as painting on rocks with a white-out pen, or Zentangle with stencils

2. Write in a journal and add photos for an image journey

3. Stop for 5 minutes and do some yoga poses

4. Read a poem

5. Turn the lights off and sit comfortably with your thoughts

I wish you peace, trust, positive energy, and contentment.

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