How to practice conscious breaks for better living

This article proposes a series of guidelines for coping with stress. What would you implement to improve your well-being?

How to practice conscious breaks for better living
Quiet your mind and increase your well-being. Photo by Jose Vazquez / Unsplash

Nowadays it is common to experience moments of tension, restlessness, and stress in our daily lives, whether at family, work, or interpersonal level; however, reviewing your thoughts and feelings will help you to observe, from a distance, what is happening to you without letting yourself be dragged down by stress.

But... What is stress, and what causes it? For example: why does one business owner get very stressed in a particular circumstance, while another feels calm and affirms that everything will be fine? These questions depend on a particular moment and your thoughts about it.

Stress can be unavoidable, increase when you feel you lose control, and occur when you are exposed to situations that demand more than your ability to withstand, which affects your well-being and, in a prolonged manner, causes physical discomfort (muscle aches, back, neck or headaches), mental (difficulty concentrating, fear of failure) or emotional (irritability, crying, feeling of not being able to cope with anything); in addition to diseases such as burnout or depression.

Breathe consciously

The more oxygenation, the more tranquility translates into a calm mind and a relaxed body, improving concentration and reducing anxiety levels and intensity of unpleasant thoughts. Practice "square breathing" in moments of anxiety, stress, and tension.

In four beats or with movements of equal duration inhale, hold the air, exhale and hold in a vacuum: inhale air and count five seconds, hold the air for five more seconds, exhale for five seconds and count five beats before starting with the next breathing cycle.

Schedule pauses throughout the day or take them when you are upset or stressed: stop, stop, breathe and observe what is happening to your body: you are tense or tired; you are cold, hot, hungry, thirsty; emotionally you feel calm, anxious, joyful, happy or sad; mentally you are in the past, in the future, labeling yourself or labeling others, judging yourself or judging someone else.

Connect with your attention

Choose a task that you do every day and slowly and reflectively give it your full attention, in this way you will notice small nuances that normally escape: perceive the temperature of the water while taking a bath or the smell of coffee while preparing your breakfast; this will help to quiet your mind and increase your well-being.

Avoid complaining and be grateful

Every day unforeseen events or events that create discomfort happen. However, you have the power to choose what to do with them: do you lament and complain constantly or do you deal with them constructively by questioning whether they are a failure, a challenge, an obstacle, or an opportunity?

Avoid getting angry about anything, manage your time in a better way, and keep in mind that not everything comes out the first time and that you may have to do one thing at a time. Finally, ask yourself: what would you implement to improve your well-being? No one can make me angry or stressed but myself.

By Mayra Romero Contreras
Degree in Pedagogy. Certified in Mindfulness.