THERAPIST AND ANTI-STRESS COURSE DIRECTOR
1. BREATHE (PROPERLY)
Bring your awareness to each in-breath and out-breath as it happens. Breathing in slightly more deeply than usual will stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, energising the body and clearing out some of those mental cobwebs. Focusing on the out-breath stimulates the para-sympathetic nervous system which calms and soothes your frazzled, winter brain.
2. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Research has shown that exercise, sleep, and minestrone soup (rather than another glass of Shiraz and a fag) can be as effective in helping mild to moderate depression as Prozac or Seroxat. Brisk walks and doing yoga in your living room is an excellent mood-booster (check out yogatic and yogayak videos on YouTube).
3. CARE FOR SOMETHING OR SOMEONE
Stepping out of the me-realm and giving our attention to something or someone else – a plant, animal, friend or colleague – can help put our own issues into perspective. The emotions this generates can work at a heart and mind level in much the same way a trusty Aga pumping out warmth in the corner of the chilly kitchen.
4. TAKE IN THE GOOD
Brains are designed to notice what’s wrong and not really pay much attention to what’s fundamentally OK – it’s a survival mechanism. So, if something pleasant does happen to you during the day (even just a nice cup of coffee), try to really soak it in. Soft as it sounds, on a neurological level, this can really make a difference.
Email Steve at MBCTLondon@gmail.com