Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

Three Unique Ways to Relieve Stress

1. Do yoga in your chair at work

You don't have to sign up for a class to begin reaping some of the many benefits that yoga can provide, like its positive effects on depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Watch the video below for some tips on how you can practice yoga right at your desk.

2. Make a mandala

A mandala is a circular, geometric design that is traditionally used as a tool for self-centering and concentration. Making your own mandala is a creative exercise in self-discovery and achieving a sense of peace. You can find many examples and patterns online, but there are no rules, so the best way to proceed is to simply find a quiet space, gather your materials, and start.

You will need:

  • A piece of paper-the larger, the better
  • A circular object-like a flat pizza pan-that you can trace around
  • Pens, pencils, markers, or paint

Find a quiet space where you can spread out your materials. You may find that playing calming music in the background will relax and inspire you. Trace a circle onto your paper, and fill this circle with whatever images, colors, and designs you imagine. Spend 30-60 minutes on your mandala, allowing instinct to be your guide. Allow yourself to become immersed in the process, letting go of any worries or troubles that you may have been feeling earlier. When you are finished, you may decide to hang it up as a reminder of the relaxation you felt while making it, or you may choose to crumple it up and throw it away as a symbol the impermanence of all things-including your stress.

3. Try a mindful eating exercise

We spend much of our time on autopilot, unaware of what is going on. Eating is a good example--how often do you really savor the tastes and textures of what you put into your mouth?  Practicing mindfulness can increase your awareness of what's going on in your life, which will help you to slow down and respond to stress in a healthier way. You can begin incorporating mindfulness into your everyday activities to see its effects.

Try this: 

  • Get three M &Ms or raisins or some other small food that you enjoy.
  • Take a few mindful breaths.
  • Become aware of the M &Ms or raisins-how they look, feel, smell.
  • Close your eyes and take up one piece to your mouth. Notice your anticipation of the taste.
  • Put it in your mouth and chew slowly.
  • Notice all the sensations, the texture, the taste, the sounds.
  • Swallow and wait. Notice if you are already anticipating the next piece.
  • When you have eaten all three, notice your reaction.

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