Gracious Me: Be Mindful & Reduce Stress

Today we are joined by the very wise Stephanie Knight MA Mental Health Therapist and founder of Knight Therapy. In the fast paced world we live in, it is hard not to find ourselves completely stressed and overwhelmed. We are constantly trying to come up with bigger, better, and faster ways to get things done. From wireless blue tooth sets to on-the-go breakfast cereal bars, there are an endless variety of products that have been created to make multi-tasking even easier. So now, not only are we having our breakfast and tall latte while we drive to work, but we are also discussing a work related issue on the phone via wireless headset. But is being able to do multiple tasks at once really making us more productive, or is it causing us to be overly stressed? Many studies have shown that we actually accomplish less when we multi-task. Multi-tasking creates more “noise” in our lives and, as a result, more stress. So, how do we manage the many tasks in our day to day lives, and still remain sane and fulfilled at the end of the day?

Practice Mindfulness

Living life with less stress can be achieved through a technique called mindfulness. Most simply stated, mindfulness is awareness. By focusing solely on the present and increasing your awareness of yourself and your surroundings in the present moment, you can learn to become more relaxed and let go of worries about the future or regrets from the past. By only focusing on the one current task you are tackling, and letting go of all of the five hundred other things on your mind, you can allow yourself to live a more calm and relaxed lifestyle. Easier said than done right? Well that’s true. Living completely in the present is incredibly difficult and is usually not a place in which one arrives. Mindfulness is a mindset and a lifelong process. Making a little effort to focus on one thing at a time, and being mindful of the moments when your brain starts wandering off, can truly have a huge impact on your life. So how exactly does mindfulness reduce stress? Well, there are a number of ways. 1. By focusing on the present moment most of the time, you are eliminating time spent worrying about regrets of the past or worries about the future. 2. It forces you to simplify your life because it is very difficult to be mindful when you are juggling too many things. 3. You learn to have deeper relationships with people because you are more present in conversations with them. 4. You have a deeper awareness of your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which is helpful in preventing and resolving stressful situations. 5. You get more accomplished. Research shows that you accomplish more when you focus your energy on one thing at a time. So while we may think that being able to pay our bills, check our email, and call our friends from our trusty blackberry is helping us get more done faster, in reality it’s just causing us to be more overwhelmed and less fulfilled. Next time you find yourself multi-tasking or your mind wandering off to a dismay of worrying, try being a little more mindful. Bring yourself into the present, focus on doing and thinking about one thing, and you will most likely come away feeling a little less stressed.

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