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Breathe to Get Rid of Stress and Anxiety

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Simple mindfulness exercise for staying calm & centered.

Greetings readers!

Work can be hard.

We’re all susceptible to stress and anxiety, but there are ways to counteract these things. Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness of all that is around us and inside of us. It is a state of calmness, where the body’s autonomic nervous system is activated.

With repeated practice you can activate your own mindfulness at any time. Throughout the day and before you go to sleep take in a series of breaths. Instead of allowing your mind to wander over the day’s concerns and letting stress create tension and worry, direct your attention to your breathing, focus on the breath, concentrating on the feeling in the body, on the repetitive motion. Be mindful of the breath. Really – it sounds simple but it’s a very powerful tool.

Pay attention to your breathing or your environment when the phone rings, when you get an email, or when there is a knock on the door. One simple practice is to have your computer configured to announce the time on the hour, and at that time, remember to be mindful.

Find a task that you do impatiently or unconsciously (i.e. waiting at a crosswalk or red light, standing in line, or washing the dishes) and concentrate on the experience as it is happening – in other words, be in the moment. Pay attention to sensory details—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Fully experience the joy of slowing down for that moment. Meditation is another great way to counteract stress. Meditate on your own or in a class and you’ll see the difference it makes in your personal and work life. Sometimes the simplest things are the most important so – BREATHE!

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Karlin Sloan is the founder and CEO of Karlin Sloan and Company, Ms. Sloan provides organization development consulting, training and executive coaching to clients the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia. She is the author of Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2006) and Unfear (January 2011).
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