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Relax! 60 seconds is all it takes…

60 seconds is all it takes…

It is well accepted that in our society, we are immersed in a fast paced way of life. Much is known about the potential negative consequences of unrelieved stress on both our physical and emotional health. While there may be some opportunity to alleviate your own personal stress triggers to some extent, two more realistic and immediate choices are available to you. One is to modify the manner with which you respond to a stress trigger, and the other is to practice the elicitation of a relaxation response on a regular basis.

Both of these choices are appealing, because both are attainable, pleasant, and very beneficial.

Modifying your stress trigger response involves becoming mindful. Mindfulness is about a place of observation, and in the case of a stress response, becoming observant affords an opportunity to gain insight into your response before you react. A very simple for instance is when another driver cuts you off in traffic. As opposed to reacting with indignation and cussing, consider taking a deep breath and saying to yourself, “hmm, how interesting. That fellow believes that he has to be somewhere in more of a hurry than I do. I wonder what is going on for him that is causing him to drive so quickly?” Two things have occurred here: one is that you have diffused the cascade of physical and emotional stress responses that would have negatively impacted your health—you literally prevented the fight or flight response from occurring; and two, you have chosen a new behavior in terms of reactivity. The more often you practice this mindful response to a stress trigger, the more familiar this way of thinking and being becomes to your brain, making it more likely that the next time you are stimulated, a recurrence of this positive thinking will be your chosen response. It’s similar to lifting weights—regular strength training will bring definition to your muscles; regular mindfulness training to a stress trigger, will bring “definition” to your brain. Your brain will become more fit!

The other aforementioned choice you have available to you is to cultivate a routine relaxation practice. This is not a dedicated 30 minute, sit-in-a-lotus position meditation while chanting and burning incense practice, but rather a moment or two of slow, intentional deep breathing that will change your body’s chemistry and your emotional state. Relaxation breathing will decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles, and very importantly will mitigate the wear and tear effects of the stress hormones that are consistently being released in response to our hectic days. The mind quiets; thought patterns calm, and emotions become balanced. Relaxation brings mindfulness and mindfulness leads to a sense of being relaxed. It’s a full circle experience.

Do you have 60 seconds to breathe?

Robin Mallery

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"The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class exceeded my expectations. It was so enjoyable to learn new ideas for healthy snacks and meals, taste the delicious treats we created and leave with an inspired hope that this will be my healthiest holiday season yet! I am impressed with the knowledge and care that Robin (and Wendy from In the Kitchen) both possess and I look forward to taking more classes in the future. Thanks again!"  --Rose M.   “What a wonderful, yummy class! Not only did we participate in creating several easy-to-make, delicious, nourishing dishes for the holidays and every day, we also learned strategies for surviving and enjoying the upcoming holiday season. Both Robin & Wendy were delightful and imparted their cooking and eating knowledge with love, humor, and enthusiasm. I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is interested in developing a better way to look at food, using thoughtfulness with mindfulness to learn some very valuable strategies for eating any time of the year!” --CAM   “I found the class delightful with great ideas for the holidays. In the Kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and you and Wendy were great teaching collaborators. Good new recipes. I appreciate your healthy eating information. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to enjoy the holidays without stressing over food. Actually, the information isn’t just for the holidays. I want to stay healthy all year and eat well.” --Pat B.   "I’ve participated in several classes at In the Kitchen, enjoyed them all immensely, but it is always a special treat when Wendy teaches a class. The recipes offered in The Holiday Survival class were easy to make and so delicious. And what a plus to have Robin co-teach the The Holiday Survival class with Wendy. Thank you, Robin, for all your great information on healthy eating, which was delivered so professionally, dovetailing beautifully into Wendy’s presentation. Hope you two team up again for more classes of scrumptious, healthy recipes. What a fun evening!!" --Carol B. _______________ I love this positive feedback! How gratifying it is to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way…and to be able to do so around a topic that is so dear to me, is just the icing on the cake (right—pun intended!). Wendy Van Wagner and I will continue to offer seasonal cooking classes in addition to the occasional specialty class…stay tuned!
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