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Posts Tagged ‘Stress Relief’

Mindfulness for Stress Relief. By Our October Student Pharmacist, Sarah Redmond.


We all live busy lives that often become stressful. Stress increases cortisol levels in our bodies. Cortisol is often called the “stress” hormone. Cortisol is necessary to help our bodies regulate blood sugar, metabolism, and our immune systems, but chronic high cortisol levels are detrimental to our health.

High levels of cortisol make us age faster, weaken our immune system, increase inflammation, and can even change which of our genes are expressed.

The demands we have to deal with on a daily basis as we balance work, school, family, and friends can be challenging and create stress.

During times of stress, it is most important to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. However, many of our reactions to stress are the opposite of what is good for us.

I would like to propose some practical tools to help us get our heads out of the storm and relax, decreasing our daily stress by practicing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment, paying attention to what we are doing, while we are doing it. It is important to be aware of the events that are happening around us, but most of all, how we react to these events. Practicing mindfulness at the beginning or end of each day can focus us for the challenges ahead and relax us after a hard day, leading to less stress and better sleep.


Mindful Breathing:

  • Sit or lay down in a quiet place with your back straight and your eyes closed.
  • Breathe in through your nose while counting slowly to six.
  • Hold your breath for a moment.
  • Breathe out through your month while counting slowly to six or until you’ve completely exhaled.
  • Repeat this breathing pattern. Let all your thoughts drift away and completely focus on breathing in and out.
  • Notice your chest moving in and out and your abdomen expanding and retracting. When your mind wanders, let the thought go. Bring your attention back to breathing, being only aware of your own body.

Mindful Walking:

  • Stand still, lift your chest, balance your weight, and feel all ten toes on the ground.
  • Start to walk.
  • Keep your gaze on the ground fixed about six feet in front of you. Note each part of each step you take- lifting your foot, moving it forward, and placing it on the ground.
  • Focus on each step. As thoughts come into your head, acknowledge them, then let them fade into the background and keep focusing back on your steps.
  • Continue to walk for half an hour.



Brain waves. Mindful Revolution. http://www.mindfulrevolution.co.za/ Accessed October 24, 2016.

Fargo, Sean. Walking Meditation. Mindfulness Exercises. http://mindfulnessexercises.com/walking-meditation/. Published March 6, 2016. Accessed October 24, 2016.

Klatt, Maryanna D. The Integrative Pharmacist? Intro to Mindfulness and Yoga Research. 2015. Presentation.

Mayo Clinic Staff. Mindfulness exercises. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356?pg=2. Published November 10, 2015. Accessed October 24, 2016.

Munroe, Jean Ann. Girl walking barefoot. OAT Test-Taking Anxiety? Try Mindfulness https://optometryadmissions.com/2014/03/19/oat-test-anxiety-try-mindfulness/. Published March 19, 2014. Accessed October 24, 2016.

Sargent, Sam. Lady with eyes closed in front of ocean. Mindful Breathing for a Healthy Body and Mind. https://www.lifestyle.com.au/health/mindful-breathing-for-a-healthy-body-and-mind.aspx Accessed October 24, 2016.