Mind & Body

Stressed Out?...Slow Down.

All the dashing around we do doesn't just make us feel frantic, it also ages us faster and can lead to illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.

Stressed Out?...Slow Down.
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6. Do One Thing at a Time
A lot of us believe we get more done by multitasking. But research at the University of Michigan published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2001, shows the opposite is true. "If you concentrate on one task at a time, you get more done faster and make fewer mistakes," says David E. Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition, and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan.
HEALTH BENEFITS Taking on chores one at a time reduces chronic stress and protects your short–term memory, which comes under fire if the brain is overtaxed.
GETTING STARTED To curb outside distractions and focus better, set aside time when you can concentrate on one activity from start to finish. For example, check e–mail once an hour and turn off your instant messaging; let your phone messages go to voice mail and only check them occasionally throughout the day.

7. Meditate
"Meditation teaches us to focus,"says Steven Hartman, director of professional training at the Kripalu Health and Yoga Center (kripalu.org) in Stockbridge, Mass. "All day your mind is chattering. When you meditate, you can hear your own inner wisdom."
HEALTH BENEFITS Studies have shown that practicing meditation also improves blood pressure, fortifies the immune system, and promotes a sense of well–being. "A daily meditation practice can bring body, breath, mind, and spirit into balance,"says Hartman.
GETTING STARTED Check out a program like Transcendental Meditation. (See tm.org.) Or begin at home: "Put an egg timer on and stay with your breath for just two and a half minutes,"says Hartman. "Keep your spine tall and straight and allow the breath to be natural."If you're seated on the floor, a cushion can raise your pelvis and bring your spine into a natural position. As you get comfortable with the practice, you can increase your time to 15 or 30 minutes a day.