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Stressed! TRY MINDFULNESS 101 FOR TEN MINUTES A DAY.



By: Panchajanya Paul, MD,


Have you ever felt exhausted by the hustle and bustle of life?
Have you felt burned out or fatigued? Can't think or focus on one thing anymore? You are not alone! Irrespective of one being a patient or a provider, modern life demands a certain degree of multi-tasking from all of us. Many are struggling to strike a balance between multiples commitments competing for our time and attention simultaneously. It can be hard to focus when the mind is drawn apart in multiple directions. Although multi-tasking has become a requirement for 21st century productive worker; it's taking a toll on our ability to be focused, mindful and happy. Any normal day, from the time one wakes up and till the time one retires to bed, one has to juggle with multiple obligations. Sometimes the hours of the day does not seem enough. Even at night, when the body tries to give in, the mind remains relentless and keeps working- thinking through multiple events of the day; all the hits and misses; all the things done and undone; and cannot quiet down. The result is poor sleep and another day of poor productivity.

Is there a solution?
Yes! The power to be mindful and be present at the moment may be one's greatest asset. Each one of us will be helped by being more mindful at whatever we do. And the good news is- it can be learned. Whether you are a patient or a provider, being mindful and able to focus on the current situation wholeheartedly will improve any activity irrespective of its nature.

How can we be more mindful and get our whole mind together? How can we resist the temptation to be at more than one place at a time?
The solution is easy and can be reached. One simple and easy way is to practice mindfulness meditation. If practiced for a short time, as few as ten minutes in a day, it can work wonders to join our fragmented and distracted mind.

What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a kind of meditation where one tries to zone in "here and now". One becomes mindful of the present moment. It's living in "here and now" and training the mind to stop dwelling in the past or jumping to the future. It's a practice than can help the mind to focus on the task at hand, rather than running here and there.
Mindfulness meditation and yoga is getting popular among the young and old as a means to slow down for a moment, relax and reduce stress as well as improve health and fitness. Research has consistently associated numerous physical and mental benefits associated with mindfulness. To name few- mindfulness can help to treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, and improve sleep and digestion. Mindfulness also helps in the treatment of depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsiveness, and anxiety.

How are Mindful Exercises Done?
Step 1: Breathing -Inhale as deeply and as slowly as you can and hold it for a split second. Feel your belly bulge with this incoming life giving air. Then exhale it out through the nose and feel the belly shrink to expel out the air. If you are not sure, put a palm on your abdomen and fell the movement. If you don't feel any motion, then simulate this motion until it becomes a second nature.
Step 2: Counting -The next step is counting. Mind works best when there is a goal and time limit. Begin to count each breadth and count till 101. Mindfulness 101 can be done in any posture. Use whatever is comfortable and whatever is available. You can do this while lying flat on a bed or a yoga mat, sitting on a chair, while standing or taking a walk outside. If possible, outdoor setting is better as you can inhale oxygen rich fresh air.
This exercise may be practiced once or twice a day. Eyes may be closed to focus better on the inner experiences; however, mindfulness 101 can be done while walking with eyes open. One can take a ten minute break in the busy day and go for a mindfulness walk or sit down at a quiet place and practice mindfulness-101.

Remember!
The goal is to relax the mind and detoxify the body with 101 breadths. A relaxed, de-stressed body is the perfect abode for health and healing. Above all, it's liberating to slow down; relax and marvel at the basic processes of life, the never-ending rhythmic cycles of breathing, and the rhythms of life itself.


Dr. Panchajanya Paul, MD, ABIHM, ABPN, is an American Board certified - Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. He holds adjunct faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine; University of Georgia & Georgia Regents University, and University of Central Florida School of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta.


 




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