4 Mind-Body Techniques to Reduce Stress
written by Tiffany Creager
The physical and mental impact of carrying toxic stress can be quite significant. We are seeing educators, students, and families all impacted by high levels of stress and it can feel overwhelming at times. The good news is that we all have the capacity within ourselves to heal and build resilience! The Center for Mind Body Medicine has identified a number of ways to leverage the mind body connection to support us in our healing journeys and you will find four of them below. Whether you’ve had a stressful day, month, year, or decade, give these practices a try!
1. Soft Belly Breathing
When people ask me where to start, I always suggest soft belly breathing as step one! This simple activity is one of the many forms of meditationaimed at inviting a relaxed state. Soft belly breathing quiets our fight or flight response, readying us for decision making, compassion, and connection.
2. Body Scan Exercise
Body scans are a fantastic way to tune into the connection between your body and your mind. I have had great success with basic body scans with students who are carrying a lot of emotion and are unable to name it. This dialogue is a slightly different approach that has been shown to improve body awareness, reduce tension, and increase calmness and well-being. I turn to this practice when feeling tense or having other somatic symptoms that I can’t quite understand.
3. Autogenics/Biofeedback Exercise
Many group participants tell me they use this one to help them get to sleep! This exercise uses six phrases that are repeated six times each at a relaxing pace. The result is relaxation, increased mind body awareness, and lower stress levels! Monitor your heart rate or body temperature before and after to see the physiological changes that can occur.
4. Dialogue with a Symptom, Problem, or Issue
Dialogue with a Symptom, Problem, or Issue
This activity has been a favorite among the teachers, counselors, and other youth service workers I’ve worked with. One of the keys to stress management is experiencing your emotions fully and moving through them, rather than being stuck in them. That can be difficult when we must carry through our day with little or no opportunity for self reflection. Try this when you’re feeling stuck in a feeling. Sometimes this skill takes practice to really see the benefits. If you aren’t sure after the first attempt, try again another time!
The weight of intense stress many educators have been carrying has become overwhelming. These four simple strategies are a really great place to start healing the mind and body while building resilience. If you are interested in learning more about how the mind body practices can help you, your colleagues, and even your students feel better, find hope, and find joy, reach out to INcompassing Education! We’d love to help. Afterall, we all deserve to live, learn, and work in supportive, healing environments.
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More Blogs from Tiffany:
Self-Regulation Strategies for Middle and High School Students
Mindfulness in Schools – Relaxation and Awareness
Understanding and Addressing Stress in the Classroom
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