Some tidbits from the "Stress Reduction, Resiliency and Wholeness As We Age" class.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share some tidbits ...

from our University of Denver (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class, entitled:  Exploring Stress Reduction, Resiliency and Wholeness As We Age.

Barbara Reinish, my co-facilitater (and former head of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program at Northwestern University) and I kept seeing these three areas (stress reduction, resiliency and wholeness) pop up in our research.  We figured if we could reduce our stress, cultivate resiliency, and adopt a philosophy centered on wholeness in body, mind and spirit, then our journey into aging might be more rewarding.

A few simple stress reduction ideas, boiled down from our class sessions:

>Concentrate on your breathing.  Inhale and exhale deeply.  When you're focused on your breathing, you're less likely to let extraneous circumstances bother you.

>Meditate.  Even if you can just close your eyes for a few minutes and think about a peaceful scene:  swinging on your front porch swing, watching ocean waves roll in, taking in a view from a hilltop, you can actually lower your blood pressure and come back to whatever you're doing more refreshed.  Don't be discouraged if you find it hard to visualize a peaceful place when you're feeling stressed out.  Just bring your mind gently back to the relaxing scene and breathe deeply, in and out.  Gradually increase your meditation time, or set aside a short segment of your day just for your little visual "vacation".

>Be in the moment.  Whether your washing dishes or driving in traffic, focus on what you're doing right this moment.  Don't think about what you're going to make for dinner or whether you're going to be late for an appointment.  Just notice what you're engaged in now.  Notice the cars around you in traffic.  Take in the sunny (or rainy) day.  Relax against the seat and feel the car's movements.  This is a moment, this brief interlude on the road, that won't come again.  And if you're bumper-to-bumper on the highway, maybe that's a good thing.  And, yes, it's okay to laugh at your circumstances, too.

More tips on stress reduction, resiliency and wholeness in the next few weeks.