March 23, 2011

Letting Go...

Of Stress?

 Is it even possible?  We live such busy lives, always running here and there.  Family, work, the news, and even finding time for yourself produce stress in our lives.  Stress consumes us and takes over our lives.  It's time to stand up to stress and say "No more." (or at least lets reduce it)

My mother invited me to attend a six week class about stress management, taught by Diane M. Foster of Mystic Hypnosis.  Let's face it we all have stress in our lives, even the most "put together" person.  This past year has been incredibly stressful for my family, since my father has spent the majority of that year in the hospital.  First with a spinal/brain issue and then cancer.  So I thought why not learn some techniques to reduce my stress.

Diane uses and teaches meditation and hypnosis to reduce stress.  I've been mediating for years now, but it's always been sporadic.  The biggest thing, about meditation, I learned from Diane is to be consistent; Same place, Same time everyday. Since this is a beginner class we started from the beginning with breathing.
Belly Breathing: Focus on your breath, the air moving in and out of your body.  Place your hand on your belly to feel your belly rise and fall, breathing in through the nose and out the mouth.
There is just something refreshing with just breathing.  It actually helps you relax and reduces stress.  Think about a stressful situation you've had.  You may not have noticed it then, but most people will let out a deep breath to help calm themselves.  This is your subconscious taking over and trying to reduce your stress level.

Diane is teaching us Mindfulness Meditation.  The concepts of this type of meditation come from Pali: sati, Sanskrit: smṛti in Buddhist Meditation.  During the meditation we are being Mindful of our breath, using it as an anchor, allowing thoughts to pass through the mind.
Diane M. Foster's Mindfulness Meditation Instructions
1. Find a quiet and comfortable place.  Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck, and back straight but not stiff or tense.
2. Close your eyes and gently become aware of your breathing, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe.  Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different.  Be aware of your breathing without trying to control it or alter it in any way.
3. Watch every thought and feeling come and go.  When thoughts come up in your mind, don't ignore or suppress them but simply note them and use your breathing as an anchor.
4. At times your attention may drift away from your breath to sounds in the environment or sensations in your body.  Whenever you realize you are not observing your breath, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
5. If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts or other distractions, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and simply return to your breathing.  Remember not to be hard on yourself if this happens.
6. Remember to let go of any expectations you may have about the practice.  If you notice that you are focusing on a mood or emotion, or looking for a particular experience, treat this like any other thought and gently bring your awareness back to your breathing.
7. As the time comes to a close (about 15 minutes), keep your eye closed and stop observing your breath for a minute or two, becoming aware of where you are.  Gently stretch, open your eyes and get up slowly before resuming activity.
I have been finding it difficult to meditate everyday.  Ironically, the days when I'm the most busy I make sure to take time out for myself and meditate.  It's the days when I have little going on (therefore less stress) that I don't make time for me.  I have been working on spending 15 minutes of every day meditating.  I know I need the time for myself to be less stressed, so I can better focus on my work and my family.

~Your Earthy Mom

To Contact Diane M. Foster

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