Mindfulness Reduces Stress

summer fruitsWhen your doctor tells you to make lifestyle changes, what does that mean? By now I think everyone knows the big changes to make:

    • Stop smoking,
    • cut out alcohol,
    • start exercising regularly,
    • eat a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts.

One could do all of the above, and without working on reducing stress – or learning how to change your perception of things that cause you stress – your risk for stress related health issues will remain the same.

How do we get a handle on stress so that it no longer influences our health in a negative way?

Becoming more mindful is one way that has been shown to provide health benefits, big health benefits it seems.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness combines meditation techniques and yoga-based movements that focus ones awareness by paying attention to the present moment.” Courtney Perkes, OC Register writer took a look at the health benefits of mindfulness in a June 27, 2o13 article.


“Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have found that mindfulness increases gray matter in the hippocampus region of the brain, helping improve memory and relieve stress.” Science Daily, Don Maurer, MD.

The main principles of mindfulness are:

  • Retraining your attitude.
  • Letting go of distractions.
  • Having a kind, open, curious attitude to your present-moment experience, whatever it is.

Studies have shown that mindfulness can reduce pain, lower blood pressure, ease depression and anxiety, boost the immune system, and thicken areas of the brain responsible for decision making and emotional flexibility.

One way to be more mindful, is to pay attention to the input your senses are perceiving at any given moment. For example, while driving to work, notice the color of the sky or the patterns of the clouds, the movement of the trees, or the melody of a song you are listening to, how your body feels in the seat, the smoothness of the ride, and how your car is moving in flow with the others on the road.

walking reduces stressAs you walk, focus on your feet, legs, and breath, noticing your surroundings as you move. As you eat, you can focus on the taste, and texture of your food, as you chew consciously, enjoying each bite. You will find yourself beginning to notice things in your surroundings like sounds and smells. You will begin to look for and enjoy being in the moment, while also creating thoughts of joy, peace, and happiness for yourself into the future.

Sometimes, I notice the feel of the floor or carpet under my feet, which causes me to walk a little gentler, with greater calmness.

I feel myself taking a sigh, letting out some tension while I’m thinking about mindfulness right now!

The simplest way to get started is to focus on the sights, sounds, smells and feel everything surrounding you right now where you are. Try it and notice how a sense of calm begins to embrace your thoughts. Repeated multiple times a day, for many days will lead you to be calmer in what is usually stressful circumstances, and help your mind and body towards relaxation and less stress.

Come back and share how you do!

About Candace

Candy Dye is a Nurse Practitioner and teacher that loves everything about health, wellness, looking beautiful, and being with people who enjoy life and love to have fun!

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