You can’t rid your life of stress.
You can perhaps reduce it and learn to better manage it. But in varying degrees, stress is here to stay.
Part of dealing with it is looking after your body. It cannot withstand being under pressure for prolonged periods. You know your own body’s telltale signs of too much stress. Is it headaches? Heartburn? Constipation or irritable bowel? Bung neck or back?
I’m a big advocate of Meditation and Mindfulness as powerful tools to respond to stress and feel better in life. But as some of you have reminded me, at times and for some people meditative practices are a bridge too far.
It’s true. When you’re overwhelmed to the point that thinking clearly and sitting still are a challenge, meditation is not the immediate answer. Even if you’re not that stressed, it may be too damn hard to sit still and tune in when doing so is utterly foreign to you.
Here is the answer. You may be familiar with it. Certainly it’s been around since well before our time but don’t dismiss it too quickly. It is progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). It is simple and effective. You can learn or relearn to relax, or access your capacity to relax when stress has disabled it.
It takes little time and the gains can be immediate if you allow them. All that is required is your willingness.
Do it and you can ease the tension in your body and provide it with the relief it requires to go on functioning okay. Keep doing it and you become accustomed to the contrast between tension and relaxation throughout your body. You begin to notice tension spontaneously and can ease it.
And as an added bonus practicing PMR is an excellent interim step to meditation….should you decide at some point to take that now easier next step.
For now have a listen and give it a go – it works!
Intro PMR (2 minutes):
PMR Exercise (17 minutes):