The third step I recommend to look and feel 10 Years Younger is to reduce stress in your life, which seems paradoxical since stress is pretty much part and parcel to the demands of the modern lifestyle.
And though I dismissed my doctors ‘bold’ assertion that my poor health was correlated to stress years back, I’ve learned that stress no doubt links to poor health … and causes us to look older and beyond our years near overnight!
Today, 40-million Americans suffer from stress and stress-related symptoms, with side-effects including eating too much, lack of energy, lack of focus, trouble getting things done and even premature aging, poor self-esteem, heart disease and digestive problems.
But I discovered what Oprah Winfrey, Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfeld, Mick Jagger, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and scores of others have discovered to reduce stress and mediate health concerns:
Breath work and mindfulness.
Breath work and mindfulness reduce stress, they change the game in our pursuit to look and feel our very best selves from disconnected and stunted to connected and focused!
Michael Jordan said, “that Zen Buddhist stuff” really works!
But breath work and mindfulness are not solely associated with Buddhism, in large part from the efforts of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Initially, MBSR brought together meditation and yoga, but it has now evolved to an ideal complimentary form of medicine to address all sorts of health problems, not just stress, with looking and feeling your best self as the foremost result!
Kabat-Zinn says about mediating, “there’s no real prescription but I would say it’s good to try 15 minutes: long enough so that you get really bored and antsy and learn how to make room for unpleasant moments.”
The whole point with meditating, with doing breath work is to stay long enough for discomfort to rise, because as Zinn and other mediation teachers teach, our discomfort is our greatest teacher.
Creating relationship with what causes us discomfort consistently offers us the opportunity to notice how fleeting our thoughts are and to not take them personally. Thoughts come. Thoughts go and only hold the potency and meaning we give them.
What benefits do you think could be possible in your life if you could readily notice stressful thoughts and embrace them as not good or bad, but just as fleeting thoughts?
Who do you think you’d be without stressful thoughts in you life?
I remember when Buddhist meditation teacher and author of Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program, Sharon Salzberg taught me to greet each thought as a friend, a friend who simply came to visit to deliver a message … and to then just let it go.
Or how my Spiritual director and author of Your Truest Self, Janice Lynne Lundy taught me to remember when I am triggered by the actions and behaviors of someone to ‘mindfully’ remember they want to be happy, they want to succeed, they want to grow and learn, they want to love, they want to experience joy … “just like me.”
Both suggestions offer the opportunity to cut a gaping hole into even old, debilitating thought patterns so you can get on to looking and feeling, living and being your very best self!
One very simple breath exercise to reduce stress beyond Salzberg’s and Lundy’s suggestions is to breathe in love, breathe out fear, breathe in calm, breathe out frustration, breathe in gratefulness, breathe out surrender, as examples. But you fill in the blanks of what you most need,
I breathe in __________ .
I breathe out __________.
So, if you’re ready to transform your life, to look and feel 10 years younger, you can get started in 3 easy steps:
- Change your thinking
- Change your diet
- Focus on your breath and mindfully let go your thoughts.
And, if you’re ready to really get serious about transforming how you look and feel, check out my new program, 10 Years Younger in 6 Weeks.