Stress Reduction Management: 20 Seconds Per Day

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Stress reduction management can help manage the stress seen in this woman's eyes.

April is National Stress Awareness Month. We spent time diving deeply into the realities of stress last year. Stress is one of the most harmful forces in life. It inflicts short-term and long-term damage on every person, particularly those who do not manage it. Stress can lead to a variety of physical and mental illnesses, and it can even shorten a person’s life expectancy. That’s why stress reduction management is so critically important, as it is something we all experience on a regular basis.

The biggest internal obstacle we face when it comes to stress reduction management is, of course, time. We are busy; we don’t have time to sit around and meditate or withdraw from life for hours every day. Jobs, family, social obligations, chores and tasks fill our days, and for most of us, it’s well into the evening before we even have a chance to take a breath.

How in the world are we ever going to put time aside every day to take care of our stress reduction management protocol?

What if we told you that you could realize the benefits of stress reduction management in as little as 20 seconds per day?

Does that seem like a classic case of “too good to be true?”

Based on the results of a recent study, that may actually be possible. Read on below for more details.

The Stress Reduction Management Study

Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley’s Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic conducted the study. The lead researcher, according to this article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, was an experienced meditator. A monk told him at a retreat that extended meditation time was not necessary to obtain the benefits of stress reduction.

He and several colleagues decided to put that assertion to the test. They came up with an approach for the experiment and asked undergraduate students to participate. Specifically, the subjects were to:

  1. Close their eyes
  2. Call to mind something that made them feel unworthy or unloved
  3. Notice what arose in their bodies

Once they completed those steps, the subjects were asked to send kindness and warmth over themselves by placing a hand over their heart and another over their belly. In effect, they were giving themselves hugs. From there, the subjects were asked to note how they felt and asked to think about how they could be friends to themselves in that moment. They opened their eyes when they were ready.

If you’d like to see a video of this process, click here. Once the subjects learned the process, they were asked to do this for 20 seconds every day for one month.

Results of the Stress Reduction Management Study

The researchers found that the subjects who followed instructions and practiced this routine more often experienced the following:

  1. An increase in self-compassion
  2. A reduction in stress
  3. A reduction in symptoms associated with anxiety and depression

These results were measured against a control group as well, and once again, the subjects who took to this practice most regularly experienced the greatest amount of benefits.

The researchers found that the simple step of providing self-compassion and simply a small window to mentally reset themselves was what made the difference. Even 20 seconds per day was enough to show measurable results in only a few weeks. You can find the full stress reduction management study here.

It’s Impossible to Eliminate or Avoid Stress

Now would be a good time to clearly state that in the real world, it’s basically impossible to avoid daily stresses that affect all of us. Based on several surveys and studies, the following are examples of stressors that are simply part of daily life for a majority of adults:

  1. Finances
  2. Job security
  3. Marriage/relationship concerns
  4. Parenting concerns
  5. Aging relatives

The list could go on almost endlessly, but all of us are dealing with at least one of these challenges if not more along with others not even listed. Therefore, the idea of stress reduction management is one that needs to be realistic. That’s because too many of us think of stress reduction management as the process of eliminating or minimizing stress. Given that stress often involves factors we cannot control, such an idea is doomed from the start.

Instead, successful stress reduction management involves just that: managing the stress that’s going to be present in your life.

Stress Reduction Management is Easier Than Many Think

Stress often seems like something that’s insurmountable and extremely complicated. Often times, complicated challenges require complicated solutions, and most of us simply do not have the time to dedicate to yet another involved process given the realities of our daily lives.

That’s one of the reasons that the results of this stress reduction management study could prove to be significant. No matter how busy we are, all of us can find 20 seconds per day to try something out that may work wonders for us. If you find yourself or a loved one struggling with stress or reactions to it, small steps at first are worth the minimal effort.

How SoCal Empowered Can Help

During National Stress Awareness Month, we would all benefit from taking a bit of time to measure our stress and decide if there are ways to manage it more effectively. Doing so could make the difference between a happier and healthier lifestyle and continued struggles.

Despite the fact that a lot of people would benefit from smaller stress reduction management steps, there are people out there who need more involved levels of intervention to overcome mental health challenges. If this includes you or someone you love, you should talk to our team at SoCal Empowered about your situation to find out if a stay with us is the best next step.

We will listen to your situation and help you decide on a course of action. If that involves our help, we will not only tell you so, but we will speak directly to your insurance company to determine coverage before you make any commitments. If a different approach makes the most sense, then we will help you identify those resources and work with you to get that process started.

It all starts with a conversation, so contact us today to take that critical first step towards improved mental health.

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