Stress Less – Seriously!

It isn’t always easy, but being mindful can make all the difference.

As women, we know all about stress.  From running a household to working, from chauffeuring children and coordinating extracurricular activities to business meetings, from trying to keep up with friends to trying to keep up with your family, from making sure the bills are paid to making sure homework is done…the list goes on and on.

According to the American Psychological Association, 40% of women report frequent stress – that’s 5% more than men. 83% of women report being stressed out about money – and, again, that’s 5% more than men. And the most frightening statistic: 87% of women reported dramatic increases in stress associated with health problems affecting their families in relationship to the declining economy.

Stress, if not managed, can be harmful to your health.   Some signs that stress is affecting your body include headaches, forgetfulness, lack of energy, lack of focus, poor self-esteem, short temper, back pain, upset stomach, general aches and pains.  Health problems that are often stress related include: depression, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, acne, and menstrual problems.

So, what do we do?  Teach ourselves how to live in the moment, be right here and now, not worrying about what needs to be done tomorrow or what we did or didn’t do today. Yes, it is possible.

Enter mindfulness. Mindfulness is the concept of embracing the moment and letting go of the thoughts and worries about yesterday and tomorrow. This doesn’t mean we can’t plan for tomorrow or reflect on yesterday, but it is making an effort to not get lost in it. Embracing the moment doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying it – there are good and bad moments in every day. If a situation comes up that upsets you, be with that feeling. What is it like to be upset? What triggered you to be upset? Know that it’s OK to be upset, and don’t judge or punish yourself for feeling that way. I know that’s easier said than done, but with practice this can help you handle stressful situations better, and enjoy pleasant ones more!

Princeton Center for Yoga & Health offers two amazing 8-week programs, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, that teach you techniques in mindfulness and stress management to help you feel less overwhelmed by life.   Feeling less overwhelmed leads to less stress; less stress leads to you being a healthier you!