Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Blog: A Peak Inside My Cluttered Mind

A Five-Minute Break From Everyday Life

Be still, mentally and physically
Everyone has experienced a stressful day at some point or another. For some of us, stress is a part of our everyday lives. But in today's world of "Hurry up!" and "I'm running a few minutes late!" there never seems to be enough time to de-stress ourselves. For years, health professionals have studied the effects of stress on our overall health and well-being; in recent years, those studies have been focused on the effects of our mental state as compared to our physical health. What good is being healthy if you still feel bad?

Taking five minutes or less every day to clear your mind and let it be still will make you more productive and increase your focus to get the job done. Meditation is good for your mind and soul. Finding a place of peace regardless of your surroundings gives you a sense of control in an otherwise chaotic world. It's your life; you should enjoy it.

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to share some of my favorite techniques of living a stress-free life. Not to say that I never experience stress, but I'm more at peace than the average person when faced with adversity and deadlines... I simply still my mind; focus, task, and move on.

Keep in mind that these exercises take practice and you may not see results for a couple of days, but like everything else, practice makes perfect. So keep trying. Soon enough, you'll be able to "be still" in seconds. After a couple of days, I could mentally walk through these steps and enjoy a more relaxed life.

Give it a try the next time your shoulders are tired from carrying the world.

Physically ridding yourself of your mental baggage
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a great technique for reducing overall body tension. As you practice tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in your body, you can move to a shortened procedure called Deep Muscle Relaxation, in which you rapidly relax your whole body. As you reduce the tension you carry in your body, your whole being will feel less stressed, and you will enjoy increased physical and emotional health. Here's how to get started:

1. After finding a quiet place and several free minutes to practice progressive muscle relaxation, sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.

2. Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale.

3. Now exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely lax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling.

4. Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax.

5. Continue down your body, repeating the procedure with the following muscle groups:
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Entire right arm
  • Right forearm and hand (making a fist)
  • Right hand
  • Entire left arm
  • Left forearm and hand (again, making a fist)
  • Left hand
  • Buttocks
  • Entire right leg
  • Lower right leg and foot
  • Right foot
  • Entire left leg
  • Lower left leg and foot
  • Left foot
For a quicker version, focus on just four main muscle groups:

  • Face
  • Neck, shoulders and arms
  • Abdomen and chest
  • Buttocks, legs and feet
Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practices you can relax your body the "liquid relaxation" poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.

What You Need:
  • A comfortable place
  • Some privacy
  • A few minutes

by Beverly Lopez, Contributor


  1. go forth and wooosaaa! peace, love and be still :)

  2. Patrick B. SandersJanuary 12, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Your suggestions at a brief exercise in relaxing the body and clearing the mind is perfect for our insane world. I integrate your ideas into my spiritual life and use many of the techniques you suggest in personal prayer and meditation. Taking a few moments to focus on breathing and filling my mind with the words of Scripture help me keep focused during the day and helps me to keep perspective on what is important and what is not. I still get stressed and distracted by stupid things, but the brief, daily meditation keeps me sane. Thanks for the wise guidance Beverly.

    1. Yes, thank you for the awesome guidance. I also have applied it to my spiritual time and with my devotional time. It works wonders for the soul and heart.

      Joanne Henriquez

    2. Your very welcome. I'm glad that you are doing your part to keep the peace in our insane world. Your efforts are appreciated. :)

    3. @ Patrick - "I still get stressed and distracted by stupid things, but the brief, daily meditation keeps me sane." Are you sane, though? ;)

  3. It's nice to stop and take a deep breath, even when it seems impossible to keep up with everything going on around me. If we are truly honest, we all do have the time it takes to pause, clear the mind and truly focus on what's important. Negativity is our biggest enemy. This was a reminder to focus on the blessings and not the challenges. Thanks for these helpful tips. Blog on... and have an uncluttered day ;-)

  4. @rudiepie - "If we are truly honest, we all do have the time it takes to pause, clear the mind and truly focus on what's important. - only if we turn off our cell and text and email (but can't it wait just a minute) -[rubs earlobes and hums]"woosaa"