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3 Minutes to Less Stress
By Laura Crooks, RN

Laura Crooks, RNManaging stress is a skill that improves with practice and benefits your health. Many people say they don't have time to relax but you can start in as little as 3 minutes.

Stress is not all bad, but most of us have more than we need. The biggest sources are daily annoyances that we accept as normal, such as traffic, rudeness, lack of sleep, and juggling overflowing schedules.

Relaxation is not the same as relaxing your body (that is why your mind can race when you go to bed). Relaxation is intentionally focusing your mind on one thing.

You can begin to feel your heart rate slow down, your muscles relax and your mind become quiet in just a few minutes. Try allowing yourself 3 minutes a day to unwind by doing one of the following very consciously and purposefully. Your mind will wander, just bring it back and keep going. Closing your eyes might help you focus. You could:

  • sip tea
  • watch the clouds or a candle flame
  • imagine a wonderful vacation in detail
  • swing or rock in a rocking chair
  • massage your feet or hands
  • stretch
  • listen to music, chimes or nature sounds
  • rub a polished stone
  • play with dry rice
  • follow your breathing
  • write in a gratitude journal

One of the simplest ways relax is to pause and purposefully take 4 gentle, slow, full belly breaths. Do it each time you wash your hands or come to a red light.

By just doing one thing mindfully you can engage your parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation, healing, growth, creativity and productivity. You are also quieting your sympathetic nervous system, the famed fight or flight response which elevates your blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol levels and feelings of rage.

It is worth your time to work on having less stress. When will you start?

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Laura Crooks is owner of You Bloom Wellness, certified wellness coach and speaker who believes that stress management is an integral part of leading the life you want. For more information, visit http://youbloomwellness.com.



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