Stress Challenge Week 5: MANAGING STRESS WITH MEDITATION

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I hope you guys are learning a few new pieces of info or picking up a few new practices from this six-week program! I have been following along and working on my own habits and can say it has been nice to dedicate some time, even if it’s only like 5 minutes on one day of the week, to this topic.

I also hope that you are continuing to include at least one practice you picked up around nutrition and exercise from the past two weeks as we enter into this new week. For me, the 2 practices I have picked up on include: (1) making one or two long walks a part of my week and (2) stopping to assess what’s going on around me when my hunger & satiety gets off.

As we enter into Week Five of our Stress Challenge we are focusing on meditation and mindfulness. Today I want to touch on what it is, how it can help us, and some tools and resources that can help us become more mindful and start taking moments to decompress.

However, before I dive in, I just want to give a shoutout to one of the Nutrition Practice Groups that I’m a part of, the Nutrition Entrepreneurs group. One of their last newsletters was about stress. Their corporate wellness section that is always written by fellow wellness dietitian, Caroline Susie, was all about stress in the workplace, how we can help better manage stress in this space and it gave some resources for wellness dietitians and professionals. I got a lot of great ideas from this section and so I had to give both Caroline and NE a shoutout. Thank you for always providing such informative and useful content! If you are an RD in wellness or any type of business I highly recommend being a part of this group!

Anyway, back to this weeks challenge! Managing stress with meditation….


“Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus, and to return to the focus when negative thinking, emotions, and physical sensations intrude - which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious”

- Dr. John W. Denninger,

(director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital)


WHAT IS MEDITATION?

  • Focusing your attention and thoughts to promote calmness, focus and well-being



WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE BODY DURING MEDITATION?

  • PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES

    • Decreased arousal of the sympathetic nervous system

    • Reduction in cortisol levels

  • PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGES

    • Enhanced coping mechanisms

    • Better emotional regulation - process that influences which emotions you have, when you have them and how they are experiences & expressed

    • Better psychological flexibility - makes you better able to balance and shift your attention to all that is happening in and around you

WHAT ARE THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF MEDITATION?

  • Focused attention

  • Relaxed breathing

  • Quiet setting

  • Comfortable position

  • Open attitude


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION?

  • DECREASED STRESS

    • new perspective on stressful situations

    • stress management skills

    • self - awareness

    • self - acceptance

    • ability to focus on the present

    • sustained attention

    • attentional switching

    • selective attention

  • IMPROVED HEALTH MEASURES

    • improved immune responses

    • reduced blood pressure

    • improvement in chronic pain

HOW CAN YOU INCLUDE MEDITATION IN YOUR EVERY DAY?

  • Repeat a mantra

  • Sitting meditation

  • Walk and meditate

  • Engage in prayer

  • Read / listen and reflect

  • Focus love and gratitude

  • Scan you body

  • Guided meditation

  • Mantra mediation

  • Mindfulness meditation

  • Qi Gong

  • Tai Chi

  • Yoga

  • Breathe deeply


A Book I am loving that teaches all about the principles of mindfulness & meditation for stress reduction…

The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Dr. Amit Sood

AND A GREAT VIDEO TO HELP YOU BETTER MEDITATE IN A MOMENT…

Lot’s of references on this one. Please email me if you would like the list!


Take Care!

Taylor