Three 10 Minute Mind and Body Stillness Practice I Find Helpful to Combat Stress and Anxiety
Do you have a daily stillness routine to help you manage stress and anxiety?
Ever since I started living with #𝗵𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗰𝗺𝗶𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗲 and #𝗱𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗮, life has become very #𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗳𝘂𝗹. Navigating work, home, and social life became very taxing. The unpredictability of attacks brought my #stress and #anxiety level way up high. I started to get frustrated, angry, and restless. I was irritable and quick to snap at every little thing. I knew then that something needed to change, not only for my benefit but also for my family. They are my support system and have been with me through my ups and downs, this is why I’ve decided to find ways to calm my mind and body.
I started utilizing my good days to explore exercises my body would tolerate, and I found swimming and yoga favorable. Although I cannot do this as consistently as I would like, I try to do them whenever I have my “good days” and am physically able to do them. Exercise has also been found to be beneficial for people with #migraine. According to American Migraine Foundation, “Exercise helps manage the symptoms and triggers of migraine on multiple fronts. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins also induce positive feelings and a sense of well-being, an asset for people living with migraine, who face increased risk of anxiety and depression. Exercise can improve sleep quality and consistency and help relieve stress, which are both common migraine triggers.”
Why yoga? Aside from my distaste for running? Lower intensity exercise such as simple yoga stretching is less likely to trigger my dystonia symptoms. According to Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, “The benefits of exercise and physical activity for neurological disorders is well-known. Individuals with dystonia may experience numerous barriers to healthy levels of exercise, including the fact that physical activity sometimes worsens dystonia symptoms.” However, DMRF found that “A team of exercise scientists and physical therapy experts at University of Auckland in New Zealand conducted a survey of 260 dystonia patients about physical activity and barriers to exercise. The survey revealed that lower intensity exercise, such as light walking and general stretching, were among the least aggravating for dystonia symptoms.” Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.
On top of the exercises I’ve incorporated into my weekly routine, I’ve also created what I now call 𝟯/𝟭𝟬 𝗦𝗠𝗣+H20 practice. 𝟯/𝟭𝟬 𝗦𝗠𝗣+H20 is an acronym for 𝟯 – 𝟭𝟬 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗧𝗖𝗛– 𝗠𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗧𝗔𝗧𝗘–𝗣𝗥𝗔𝗬 + HYDRATION. I use this as a guide to my daily calm and stillness. According to Mayo Clinic, “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may help you manage symptoms of certain medical conditions.“
I usually start my day with this 30-minute practice.
𝟭. I begin with what I call the “accept and release” mentality as I sit on a yoga mat before starting the SMP+H2O practice. I think of any tension that I may have accumulated, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, and I welcome them all, but I make sure that I accept the things I cannot change or control. I take a deep breath and release all the tension from within, leaving what I like to think of as a blank canvas inside me.
𝟮. 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗧𝗖𝗛 – After feeling the release of all the stress from my mind and body, I start with a few simple yoga 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀 that engage the whole body for 𝟭𝟬 minutes. I focus on the simplicity of the stretches and the slow inhale and exhale breathing technique. The key is slow and simple, and I only do what my body allows me. It is essential to listen to your own body before and while doing this.
𝟯. 𝗠𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗧𝗔𝗧𝗘 – Once I’m done with the stretches, I use the meditation app called #calm. I sit on the mat and listen to the 𝟭𝟬 minute daily calm, following its instruction to bring stillness through my mind and body, ending with a few deep breaths. I also allow myself to hydrate at this time.
𝟯. 𝗣𝗥𝗔𝗬- I then proceed to the next step. I use another app called #youversion to listen to a chapter from the Bible. (𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘗𝘴𝘢𝘭𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵.) I find the audio voice from “youversion” calming. During this time, I incorporate my prayer. I do this for a total of 𝟭𝟬 minutes, taking slow and deep breaths in between – accepting, releasing, and connecting with God.
Depending on what time of the day I do this, I spend a few minutes 𝙧𝙚𝙛𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙜𝙣𝙞𝙯𝙞𝙣𝙜, and 𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜. I begin with reflecting about my day, taking slow and deep breaths in between thoughts, then recognizing what I can’t control or change, and I 𝙧𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙚 them all as I exhale. I then acknowledge and remember the good things that have happened throughout the day, welcoming them into my canvas, appreciating them, and feeling grateful for the blessings; this is what I call the moment of replacing. I replace the tension with blessing, repainting my canvas with good thoughts for the day or night.
𝟰. H2O – I end each session with slow and deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling. I do this 3x and finish the session with a glass of cold water to refresh and hydrate.
𝗜 𝗮𝗺 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗺𝘆 𝗱𝗮𝘆!
The whole practice takes only 30 minutes out of my day—three 10 min separate sessions of simple Yoga 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻, and 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿. However, you can extend this to 45 minutes or an hour if you like, the choice is yours, but I find it easier to set aside 30 minutes out of my day and use it any time of the day. I usually find it more beneficial first thing in the morning to start my day or right before bedtime to end a hectic day. I find it a helpful practice for stress and anxiety as well. However, make sure that you listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you have stress and anxiety.
𝗡𝗼𝘁𝗲: 𝘚𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘨𝘢 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦. 𝘚𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘤 𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘳𝘴 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘵𝘺𝘱𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘹𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘦.