Modern life is stressful for everyone but did you know that stress wreaks havoc on our bodies? Stress does more than emotional harm, it also contributes to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Because of the mental and physical health implications, it’s important to reduce your stress levels. Thankfully, there are some easy and inexpensive ways of reducing your stress.
One of the best ways of reducing stress is through mindfulness. In this article, we’ll discuss some mindfulness activities for adults. Most of them are easy and many of them are free!
Intentional Breathing Reduces Stress
Mindful breathing is a great way to reduce stress because it activates your parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). More than 10,000 fibers (the vagus nerve system) extend from your brain to most of your body’s organs.
A few of the areas the PSNS acts on include:
- Stomach and trunk nerves
- Tear-producing lacrimal glands
- Saliva-producing salivary glands
- Bladder nerves
Engaging the PSNS with intentional breathing initiates relaxation which allows your body to repair and restore balanced bodily functions.
You may not experience immediate relaxation but try intentional breathing on a regular basis and you should notice a difference in your stress levels. Follow these steps.
1. Find a Comfortable Spot
Sit in a comfortable and quiet spot. You can sit in a chair or lie on your back. As you get comfortable, observe your breath.
Pay attention to where your breath flows. Notice it in your nostrils, chest, belly, back, front, and sides. Avoid any thoughts of judgment and just observe your breath.
Observing your breath may slow down your breathing rate but breathe normally. Try not to deepen or change your normal breathing pattern.
2. Put Your Hands on Your Belly and Chest
Now, place one hand in the center of your chest. Put the other hand with your thumb below your belly button. Continue breathing in your normal way.
Observe some more. Are you breathing more into your left or right hand? Continue to breathe normally and observe how you feel and what you notice.
Continue breathing for ten breaths or more.
3. Alternate Breathing Into Your Left and Right Hands
Where is your left hand? Is it over your chest or under your belly button? Breathe into the space under your left hand.
Mentally observe what you feel as you breathe into your left hand for about 10-20 breaths. Take some deep inhalations and exhalations after 20 breaths.
Now switch to your right hand and repeat the process. Breathe into your right hand and observe what you feel. Observe for 10-20 breaths.
4. Try Half Breaths
Now breathe half a breath into your left hand and pause for 1-2 seconds. Concentrate on taking the rest of the breath into your other hand. Exhale from whichever hand is on the bottom and let the exhalation travel to your other hand and up and out.
Repeat the process again for 10-20 breaths and then take several deep inhalations and exhalations. Then resume normal breathing.
5. Take Some Full Breaths
For the last step, take deep, full breaths from the top to the bottom on the inhalation and from the bottom to the top on the exhalation. Don’t pause but see if you can exhale slower than you inhale.
After another 10-20 breaths, take a few deep inhalations and exhalations and then resume your normal breathing.
6. Observe Your Feelings
When you’re done, take a few minutes to observe your feelings. Stay in the moment and avoid judging yourself or worrying about what’s next on your agenda. Once you’re familiar with this exercise, try it once a day to reduce stress.
Go for a Walk
When it comes to managing stress, walking is underrated and a great activity for coping with stress. Our bodies weren’t meant to sit at a computer all day, and prolonged sitting isn’t healthy.
Some people go all day without physical activity other than walking to and from their car in a parking lot or walking through the grocery store. A 30-minute walk strengthens bones, improves cardiovascular health, and helps balance your blood sugar, reducing your likelihood of developing type-2 diabetes.
Walking is one of the best mindfulness-based stress and anxiety tools that are simple, free, and available to almost everyone. Even adding a 10-minute walk a couple of times a day into your routine reduces stress. Next time you walk, quiet your mind and observe everything you see around you.
In today’s fast-food world, mindful eating is beneficial in several ways.
- Increases awareness of fullness
- Reduces stress
- Reduces overeating
- Helps with weight loss
Next time you eat, turn off the TV, put down your phone, and pay attention only to eating. Focus on the food – the flavors, smells, and texture of the food.
Over time, you’ll enjoy your food more and eat less as you observe your body’s response to food. For many people, mindful eating helps them lose weight which also reduces emotional stress. Mindful eating also helps reduce the chances of developing type-2 diabetes.
Yoga and Meditation
The regular practice of yoga reduces stress and benefits your body. Yoga is a mind-body practice that includes breathing techniques combined with meditation and physical poses. There are so many different types and levels of yoga that there’s something for almost everyone.
As with other mindfulness and stress techniques, yoga quiets the mind, encourages non-judgment, and improves your health. If you’re new to yoga, it’s best to find a yoga studio with an experienced teacher. You can also find yoga classes on the internet and some local studios now offer online classes due to the pandemic.
Try These Mindfulness Activities for Adults
Try these mindfulness activities for adults to reduce stress and improve health. Make mindfulness a habit for coping with stress, and you’ll see improvements in your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Try these mindfulness activities for adults to reduce stress and improve health. Make mindfulness a habit for coping with stress, and you’ll see improvements in your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Are you looking for more great health, wellness, and fitness advice? Find more articles, information, and helpful insights on our blog.