April 2nd, 2014

A 3 Minute Exercise to Bust Stress

As you may have heard, the miracle of brain plasticity tells us that we can reprogram the brain at any age.   The brain can learn to slow down the constant thinking process (& the common process of thoughts jumping from one topic to another randomly) and instead relax, focus, calm the body`s stress response, foster better sleep, and so much more.

And creating this shift is much easier than you might think.  Research has demonstrated that by sitting and mindfully breathing for 3 minutes 3 times per day, in as little as eight weeks you strengthen the part of the prefrontal cortex involved in generating positive feelings and diminish the part that generates negative ones.    That`s only 3 minutes, 3 times each day for eight weeks!

Mindful breathing is a practice (meaning we get better with practice).  What you do is focus on your breathing.  Start by feeling where your breath is most prominent in your body.  Is it in your nose, in your belly, in your chest?  Then focus on the feeling of the breath going in and going out.  As one breath ends, another begins.  Your eyes do not need to be closed, although that can help.  Remember:  your mind will wander because that`s what it does.  So, each time you notice that your attention has moved somewhere else, gently return your attention to your breath.  The more you practice, the easier it will become.  And as you practice, your brain will gradually re-wire itself for more calm, more relaxation, better sleep and more overall contentment in your life.  

If you`re wondering when to carve out your 3 minutes, 3 times each day ... one idea is to complete the first round when you wake up in the morning, the next round just as you break for lunch (before you eat) and the last 3 min round when you transition to home from work (in the car before you drive or as soon as you get home, for example).   The times you choose are up to you yet marking them down and sticking with them is essential.   For any of these types of exercises, I use a small kitchen timer (I have them in different spots) and that allows me to feel assured that I`ll know when the time is up.  Three minutes pass very quickly!  

3 Minutes, 3 times a day!  Your brain, your body and YOU will all benefit enormously.  

Here`s to you and living well!
Lee

PS:  If you`d like to get more ideas and inspiration for the miracle of mindfulness, I suggest a wonderful little book by Goldie Hawn called 10 Mindful Minutes.  It`s full of compelling stories, practical exercises and  summaries of research findings.  It` an easy read and definitely inspiring.  
  


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Power of Wellness

Lee Chamberland

Stress Relief & Happiness Expert
Vancouver, BC, Canada
(604) 738-7685
Every morning is a new beginning, a chance for you to rewrite the story of your life.
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