It probably isn't news to you that chronic levels of stress are detrimental to your mental and physical health, but it may be news that you can alleviate that burdening state of anxiety and renew your energy stores by practicing something as simple as breathing. Marlise Karlin, creator of the program The Simplicity of Stillness, shares why recharging and finding inner peace is essential to your health and how it can be done in affordable, time-efficient ways.
Having to watch your dollars to make sure your monthly bills are paid and you can still put money away for your children's college tuition can be stressful in the best of economies.
However, now that money is even tighter, you've had to give up your gym membership and spa treatments, and even cancel that yearly tropical vacation – all things you've relied on to manage your mental health. Sure, it's disappointing, but you can actually use your economic contraints as an opportunity to find inner peace – something that no amount of money will ever afford you. And with that inner peace comes a restoration of your physical health and wellbeing.
"Throughout time, people have searched for ways to create balance and establish peace of mind — that extraordinary sense you get when, regardless of the challenges you face, you know everything will turn out OK," says Marlise Karlin, who works with people all over the world in finding balance in their lives and helping them discover what they really want out of life and how to create it.
Karlin refers to the tranformative process of finding inner peace as "rebooting" and says it's a fundamental part of long-term mental and phyiscal health. "From threatening health risks to the toll it takes on our outward appearance, we are constantly reminded of why it's important to reboot ourselves," she explains. "Physical exhaustion, difficulty in concentrating due to constant mind-chatter, not having the emotional bandwidth to handle even the smallest tasks, and feeling overwhelmed and out of control are just a few of the symptoms [of not taking time to reboot]."
Karlin says rebooting is more than just escaping the day to day grind of responsibilities. "We've all taken vacations, and, within minutes of returning home, we are bombarded by stacks of bills and emails that have accumulated, along with the overflowing dirty laundry in our suitcase. It's as if we never left. Stress waits by the front door taunting us to lose our grip on our newfound vacation bliss."
To truly regain – or even newly discover – balance and to effectively manage stress, Karlin advises, "To have a more balanced life, we need to reboot ourselves by practicing stillness, and connect to our true essence to lead a more enjoyable life."
According to Karlin, recharging your batteries and finding a state of inner peace takes very little time and costs nothing. "People are running at a hundred miles an hour, racing with the clock forgetting how important it is to find balance and enjoy their lives," the inner peace expert says. "It's important to realize it only takes a few minutes a day to completely reboot ourselves by releasing the stress and nurturing the mind, body and spirit to become more balanced and healthy." Here are a few of her realistic ways to decrease stress and recharge.
Karlin suggests breaking a sweat as a way to bust stress. "Sometimes we have so much pent up anger and frustration that we have to find ways to physically release the tension from our bodies, and break up the storm clouds that are circling our heads," she explains. "Push away from your desk and take a quick walk, or run, head to the gym, yoga or Pilates class and let it all go. Once the storm has cleared, you will be able to access better ideas of how to adjust what it is that has been troubling you."
"Plug in the iPod and strut your stuff – let loose!" encourages Karlin. "Take a deep breath and release it by singing like Mick with attitude. Dance on down the sidewalk or boogie in your living room. Not gently like our friends on Grey's Anatomy, this has to be rockin' and singin' like The Black Eyed Peas' Where is the Love? and Moby's In My Heart or if a spiritual vibe is more your style, then put on Dave Stringer's Ganapati Om. It is literally impossible not to feel great energy pumping through your veins – at least by the third round of any of these great tunes."
What could be better than water to wash away the blues? When negative thoughts plague you like cable news, it's time to soak your sorrows down the drain. Karlin says, "As you lie in the tub, or stand in the shower, see your worries leaving you. Release the tension by envisioning life's problems being washed away. Imagine standing under a crystal clear waterfall where each drop that touches you cleanses your mind as well as your body."
It isn't enough to think you'll practice stillness, you must commit to actually doing it. Karlin suggests finding a quiet space where you can refocus your attention away from the mind-chatter and begin breathing deeply. Take several long breaths where you feel the air reaching the top of your head and then moving down to the tips of your toes. Visualize tension leaving your body. Allow your thoughts to become like clouds on a windswept day.
In addition to belting out and grooving to your favorite tunes, Karlin suggests connecting to your breath while listening to one of her Stillness Sessions CD, comprised of music compilations of internationally renowned musicians, that transmits The Simplicity of Stillness into your ears and throughout your body and soul. The Stillness Sessions CDs let you open your heart and mind as the music washes over you, allowing you to relax your body and release any concerns and stresses.
Karlin says, "In time, you will discover how to reboot yourself in a breath. When this practice becomes a part of life like brushing your teeth, the stress will have diminished to such an extent, you will wonder why you ever let the rollercoaster of life take you on such a big ride."
Because of all the responsibilities you do take on, it is essential to your wellbeing to make time for yourself to recharge – even if you think you can't budget it in your schedule or, worse, you think you don't deserve time for yourself.
Karlin offers her best advice: Create space in your life that is just yours. She explains, "Whether it's laying in your bed first thing in the morning or late at night or
turning off the cell phone in the car, or sitting quietly in the conference room at work before you begin your workday. You need to claim your space for a specific period of time each day. Some
people have even claimed their own bedroom closet in their home and given fair warning to do not disturb!"
Begin with only five to 10 minutes a day, and the beauty within will draw you into wanting more quite naturally. This is your time for you! Karlin concludes, "When you reboot yourself and are in balance with all of life, there is so much to give, and the well doesn't run dry. Choose what will make you consistently happy – and it truly will."
Visit MarliseKarlin.com to learn about Stillness Sessions and breath awareness or to register for one of Karlin's The Simplicity of Stillness programs. Stillness Sessions CDs will be available for purchase starting in August 2009.
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