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On this blog, I’ve talked a LOT about the consequences of stress and what stress means for weight gain among other problems.

Well today, we’re going to look at preventing stress or alleviating it.  I’ve talked about adaptogenic herbs before and how they help your body resist the consequences of stress.

Yoga_RelaxationBut what about stress caused by the overactive mind? Here are a few (mostly) free resources for relaxing the brain and thus the body, by bringing calm, focus, and attention on breath, peaceful imagery, and cultivating an internal state of awareness.  These activities will thus reduce some of the triggers to stress.

On-the-go (iPhone)

Download the Omvana app.  Then select from numerous free tracks of meditation sounds and music, including rain, ocean, flutes playing, and much more.  Or opt for a guided meditation on topics ranging from weight loss to love to abundance–many of these have a small fee.  Then the vocal and non-vocal tracks can be mixed and matched so you get the right background sounds for your guided visualization.

At-your-desk

Go to Calm.com, set the timer, and find your zen.  All it takes is 2-3 minutes of peaceful sounds and deep breathing during your work day to get you back into the “Rest and Digest” part of your nervous system, thus deactivating the stress response.

Anywhere

Log onto iTunes U and look up “Mindfulness in Medicine” from the University of Wisconsin. Ignore the videos–they’re slow and super boring; what you want is the audio tracks.  The audio tracks ranging from 3 minutes to 33minutes guide you through deep breathing exercise, body sensing and awareness, embracing and embodying feelings of forgiveness, happiness, and loving kindness.  All FREE. Either download to iTunes on your portable device or listen right from your computer.

Go to Amazon.com’s MP3 section.  In there, select free, and search for relaxation.  You’ll find a huge selection of calming soundtracks, including birds chirping, water running, and piano or flute music and even a few guided relaxation exercises. Option to get higher quality ones for a small fee.

Find ritual in brewing, smelling, and drinking a cup of tea.  This is not an activity to rush through, but really sense your motions, feel the weight of the cup, hear the boiling of the water, smell the tea, notice the changing color of the water, breathe deeply while you let it cool, really taste the tea, rolling it around in your mouth and enjoying it. When you bring ritual and present moment awareness into making a cup of tea, you find relaxation.

 

Now that you have so many (free) options for finding relaxation on a moment’s notice, the key is to actually interrupt the stress cycle of thought patterns, rushing, running, and emotions. Just do it. Right now. Go

R E L A X

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