Lower Stress And Extend Life With Your Mind: 3 Easy Ways & How To Make Them Habit


Lower Stress And Extend Life With Your Mind: 3 Easy Ways & How To Make Them Habit

september 8th, 2021

(9 Minute Read)

Real Life Jedi Mind Tricks: Improve Yourself Physically With Your Thoughts

Don’t think you can create a physical change by just thinking a certain way? Today we explain why you’re wrong and how you can easily do it. While we have shared eating and exercise habits to help cortisol and stress, trained thinking is the silverback gorilla of stress domination. It’s Tops. You probably know it better as meditation.


Get rid of the picture in your head of some monk humming, “UHMMMMM.” Older, bald Buddhist, wrapped in a robe resembling a bed sheet, sitting legs crossed, eyes closed, pinky to thumb on top of a mountain... It’s not how most are practicing, and it’s certainly not necessary for results.


We’re here to give you three different methods to start taking back your wellness through thought. It’s going to make you realize how easy and simple it can truly be.


But before we do, we needed to share some wacky stats that even took us back:


Common Meditation Practices are not what many Clichés make them out to be

8 Crazy physical results of meditation

They're all impressive... and they're all backed by research.

  • Meditation Can Reduce Insomnia By 50%1

  • Practicing meditation for only 4 days can increase your attention span2

  • Meditation can reduce the risk of being hospitalized for coronary disease by 87%3

  • Meditation in a span of six to nine months can reduce anxiety levels by 60%4

  • Studies have shown meditation to significantly relieve back pain by retraining pain pathways5

  • Meditation consistently lowers blood pressure for those who practice it6

  • Meditation has shown to reduce depression relapses by about 12%7

  • Regular meditation practice increases telomerase, an enzyme known to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and similar diseases8

It's All Connected

All of this is just as good as it sounds. At the very least, a decrease in coronary disease, anxiety and depression should be something everyone is seeking.  What’s lost in these impressive stats though is how it is all connected.


We are talking about meditation because we want to lower cortisol. If you have read our blog on how Cortisol Is Killing You, you would know how awful the side effects of the stress hormone are.  What these stats really show is that reducing cortisol leads to A LOT of good things. So, hopefully these bring you some motivation to consider forming a new habit!


Scroll down to see 3 different, simple, meditative practices that can help you lower cortisol and achieve all the great things listed above.

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1. Visualization 

All it takes is 5-15 minutes, and the best part is, you can do it practically anywhere… So anytime stress starts to become apparent and overwhelming, this can be a go to for instant help.


Sit still, close your eyes, and imagine that you are resting on a white sand beach. Take a slow, deep breath in. While you inhale, focus on feeling calm, relaxed and safe. As you continue to breathe slowly, eyes closed, try to imagine as many details about the beach as you can. Examples would be:

  • How clean, clear and blue the water is

  • How Bright and Blue the Sky is

  • The warm, soothing feel of the sand between your toes

  • The sounds of waves gently crashing up on the shore

  • The refreshing taste of a cool drink you’re sipping on 

Relax your face and let go of any tension in your forehead, between your eyebrows, your neck and your throat. Allow your breath to slow and match it with the rhythm of the waves on the shore. Sit and spend time just being in that imagery you have created. Recognizing more and more detail.


That’s it really. You could replace the beach scene with any other that you would prefer. The concept is that you imagine a relaxing scene, and then focus on as many tiny details as possible. At the same time you visualize all of the details, you want to stay aware of your body and consciously relax your muscles.


While you can practice this almost anywhere, we like to set a goal to do this for about 10 minutes, once a day. It’s nice to do it at the end of the day or before bed. It can help put your to sleep.

2. Deep Breathing 

This practice can be even quicker. Only 3-5 minute can have legitimate physiological impacts. Deep breathing exercises promote a biological state of calmness, which achieves our goal of lowering cortisol levels for better overall wellness.


Just Follow These Steps:

  • Get Comfortable. You could be lying down on your back in bed, sitting on the floor with good posture, relaxed in your favorite arm chair or even sitting at your work desk.

  • Breathe in through your nose, deep and slow, focusing on filling your belly with air. Once your belly is full, try to fill your lungs. Focusing on air filling them from the bottom up.

  • Exhale slowly through your nose

  • Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest.

  • Continue with deep breathes, in and out of your nose, starting with filling your belly. As you exhale, feel our belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one on your chest.

  • Focus on the rising and falling of your belly and continue this process over and over.

2. Deep Breathing 

This practice can be even quicker. Only 3-5 minute can have legitimate physiological impacts. Deep breathing exercises promote a biological state of calmness, which achieves our goal of lowering cortisol levels for better overall wellness.


Just Follow These Steps:

  • Get Comfortable. You could be lying down on your back in bed, sitting on the floor with good posture, relaxed in your favorite arm chair or even sitting at your work desk.

  • Breathe in through your nose, deep and slow, focusing on filling your belly with air. Once your belly is full, try to fill your lungs. Focusing on air filling them from the bottom up.

  • Exhale slowly through your nose

  • Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest.

  • Continue with deep breathes, in and out of your nose, starting with filling your belly. As you exhale, feel our belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one on your chest.

  • Focus on the rising and falling of your belly and continue this process over and over.

You can find short term results in as little as 3-5 minutes. We recommend 10-30 minutes for maximum, long-term, broad benefits.  

3. Mindfulness 

This is a hot term, and it has a pretty broad meaning. It’s basically increasing your physical and mental awareness of the moment. A simple practice that falls under mindfulness is called “Body Scan”. Focus and carry this technique out for 5-15 minutes for maximum benefits.


We know what the sensation of touch feels like on our finger tips as we make contact with something or someone. It’s a sensation that we can feel on the outer most layer of our skin. During this exercise, you are going to attempt to feel inside your fingers and hands. Then spread that feeling to the rest of your body. 


Sounds tougher than it is. Well guide you, and we encourage you to try this one more than once. It gets easier with practice.

  • Get Comfortable. You could be lying down on your back in bed, sitting on the floor with good posture, relaxed in your favorite arm chair, even laying in the tub.

  • Close your eyes and start with focusing on your fingers and hands. Maybe wiggle them a little bit. Notice any physical sensation you might have. Often, when you intently focus on feeling your hands, you will notice a dull, pulsing warmth. It may even start to resemble the feeling you get when your hand falls asleep and you have, “pins and needles.”

  • Imagine that warmth spreading from the outer most layer of your skin, down into the internal parts of your hand. Continue to focus on this until it engulfs all your fingers. Let it spread to your palms and the back of your hands.

  • Now work on your toes, same thing, spreading to your soles then both your entire feet

  • Focus and try to get that feeling to spread to your forearms and lower legs

  • If you can hold the focus, continue until your upper and lower half’s meet

  • Hold that focus as long as you can. If you lose it, start over again.

The purpose of this practice is to be absolutely focused on the moment. The longer you go, the more beneficial. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. We want you to have realistic expectations, and many who try this will start off being able to focus on the hands and feet, but find it difficult to hold focus well enough to get the full body effect. Keep practicing! It’s helping calm you and has all the beneficial physiological impacts you are seeking for better wellness.

Form The Habit for long term success

The hardest part of these three practices: doing them consistently over a long period of time.


We have had a lot of practice in helping people form new habits, which is what you are going to have to do if you are not already practicing them.


When we simplify what it takes to form a new habit the answer is straight forward, short term discipline of 3-5 weeks. That is how long it takes for the mind to change a consistent behavior into a habit.


Many cringe at having to spend so much mental energy adhering to a goal and/or schedule. Whether most know it or not, this is because psychologically they are planning on it being difficult indefinitely. But that is not the case, it’s a false belief.


If you can stay disciplined until you form a habit, it becomes VERY easy to keep the habit. Actually, it becomes harder to break the habit than it does to hold it.

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References


1. Ong, Jason, and David Sholtes. “A mindfulness-based approach to the treatment of insomnia.” Journal of clinical psychology vol. 66,11 (2010): 1175-84. doi:10.1002/jclp.20736


2. Nagamatsu, Lindsay S, and Sabrina D Ford. “Can meditation improve attention in older adults? Study protocol for a 4-week proof-of-concept intervention.” Pilot and feasibility studies vol. 5 22. 11 Feb. 2019, doi:10.1186/s40814-019-0413-x


3. Levine, Glenn N et al. “Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.” Journal of the American Heart Association vol. 6,10 e002218. 28 Sep. 2017, doi:10.1161/JAHA.117.002218


4. Goyal, Madhav et al. “Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” JAMA internal medicine vol. 174,3 (2014): 357-68. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018.


5. Zeidan, Fadel, and David R Vago. “Mindfulness meditation-based pain relief: a mechanistic account.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences vol. 1373,1 (2016): 114-27. doi:10.1111/nyas.13153


6. Goldstein CM, Josephson R, Xie S, Hughes JW. Current perspectives on the use of meditation to reduce blood pressure. Int J Hypertens. 2012;2012:578397. doi: 10.1155/2012/578397. Epub 2012 Mar 5. PMID: 22518287; PMCID: PMC3303565.


7. MacKenzie, Meagan B, and Nancy L Kocovski. “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: trends and developments.” Psychology research and behavior management vol. 9 125-32. 19 May. 2016, doi:10.2147/PRBM.S63949


8. Alda, Marta et al. “Zen meditation, Length of Telomeres, and the Role of Experiential Avoidance and Compassion.” Mindfulness vol. 7 (2016): 651-659. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0500-5


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