Stress Relief Practices That Keep You Moving

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Stress Relief Practices That Keep You Moving

Everyone suffers from stress. Sometimes the stress will be stronger than others. Stress can trigger different feelings, like anxiety, depression, anger, fear and dread.

People may feel stress for different reasons. Everyone has life stressors that trigger prolonged stress, or stress that is not resolved quickly. Bottling up the stress can cause health issues. It can cause you to act out of your frustrations. Finding healthy and productive methods for relieving stress is important to do. Healthy stress relief skills prevent the side effects of stress from affecting your life.

Meditation Practices That Don’t Involve Sitting Still

When people think of meditation, they tend to think of a person sitting crossed-legged with their eyes closed, deep in thought. While this is a legitimate form of meditation that many people enjoy, it is not for everyone. For many, the idea of sitting in one place for extended periods of time is not very appealing. Many people try traditional meditation only to get frustrated and give up.

Something that many people do not realize is that this is not the only method of meditation. There are other practices of meditation that involve movement, focus and concentration. They involve removing yourself from the stressful environment in effort to reduce your stressful state of mind.

These practices focus on the body-mind connection. They engage your mind and your senses to create awareness of the present moment. In focusing on the present, the stressors of the past and future disappear for a while.

Many people prefer the following meditative practices because they are interactive and engaging. They require activity, which reduces the risk of boredom. Many practices are also guided by a leader, though it is not always necessary.

The following are meditation practices that involve movement and body-mind connection for stress relief:

Yoga

Yoga is arguably the most popular practice for movement meditation. The practice of yoga began in India, approximately 5 thousand years ago. Yoga incorporates movement and focus of the mind to create a connection between the mind, body and spirit. The movement and transition through the poses, along with the strength and endurance needed to hold poses, creates a meditative state.

Yoga helps you focus only on yourself, and an alignment between the body and mind. With practice, moving through the different poses or yoga improves concentration. It creates a calming and peaceful sensation in the mind.

Yoga incorporates deep breathing exercises that help rejuvenate the body. Through breath work, you are able to clear your mind of cluttered thoughts, and clear your body of toxins. You are able to reach a level of self-awareness and acceptance with yourself and the world. Yoga forces you to focus on the present, which reduces stress and anxiety.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art. It incorporates the body and mind to promote balance, control and mindfulness through movement. Like Yoga, Tai Chi uses a body-mind connection and breath work to ground you in the present moment. This helps reduce stress and anxiety. Tai Chi is also particularly helpful in practicing self-control and mental slowdown.

Tai Chi uses fluid movement to promote inner peace and personal awareness. It forces the brain to focus only on the fluid movements that your body makes while in a meditative state.

Tai Chi incorporates breath work as a pacemaker for the movements of the practice. You transition through different poses according to the rise and fall of your breath. This practice is helpful for managing anxious thoughts and quieting concerns about the future. It also helps with improving self-esteem and self-awareness.

Walking Meditation

If guided, concentrated forms of meditation are simply not for you, or if you do not have the time to learn a new exercise, then walking meditation may be the best path for you. Walking meditation is an excellent exercise for stress relief. The practice is simple- just take a walk!

Taking walks is great because it helps you to get out of a stressful environment for a while. When you remove yourself from the stressful environment, calming your mind from angry, stressed or anxious thoughts is much easier.

While walking, you are able to engage your senses- sight, sound, smell, etc. You are able to engage with the community and space around you. You are not in the space that forces stress upon you.

You can make walking meditation just what you need- you can listen to music or an audiobook. You can call a friend, or you can just take it all in without any stimulation.

Taking a short 15 minute walk can significantly reduce your overall stress level, and it can help you to feel refreshed when you return to your office, work or home. It does not take long, and can happen at any point in the day. It is flexible, and can be effective if you give it a chance.

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