Take the Stress Out of Your Life

Stress is one of the rampant illnesses of our time, yet far too many people don’t take it seriously. This chapter explains the many conditions caused or aggravated by stress, and shows why treating it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your health and lengthen your life.

1. Quick-Start Guide: Reduce Your Stress in Six Minutes

A mini-chapter to give you an instant taste of success. This introduces an easy six-minute relaxation meditation on the accompanying CD, and encourages you to note your state of stress before and after.

2. Good Stress/Bad Stress

People think of stress as a mental issue, but it is absolutely physical. Stressful events flood our bodies with very physical hormones that cause very physical changes. This chapter explains why we all have this system, why stress can be good or bad, and why it is vital that we learn to manage it.

3. Learn to Relax

Being able to relax is essential to everyone’s good health, yet how many of us get any training in how to do it? This chapter remedies that and introduces simple diaphragmatic breathing exercises, some using the accompanying CDs. You’ll probably find that you will use these techniques every day.

4. Learn to Enjoy Your Day

Most stress is caused by worrying about the future or fretting about the past—two things that aren’t part of our momentary reality and that we can’t control. Learning the technique of mindfulness—being in the present moment, observing our thoughts, and letting them go without feeling forced to act on them—is central to achieving long-term peace and happiness. This chapter introduces a number of meditations and mental practices for recognizing thought patterns and developing healthier ones.

5. Put Mindfulness into Practice

There are a variety of hints that can make mindfulness easier and a more natural. Through these practices we can actually change our brain to minimize our stress and put more joy in every day.

6. Change Your Thoughts

We tend to think that our emotions are caused by external events. We forget about the in-between step: our interpretation (often irrational) of the event. By becoming aware of our cognitive distortions and learning the technique of reframing, we can transform potentially stressful situations into beneficial ones, without any change in external circumstances.Read more...

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