To be diagnosed with an autoimmune diseases is not only devastating but also stressful, especially if the doctor tells you that there is no cure, except controlling the disease symptoms with steroid medications.
The first and foremost thing to do is to de-stress yourself so that you will have clarity of mind to deal with the health issue and its related implications in your life.
Walk to de-stress as if everything is a miracle. Yes, walking can de-stress you, provided you are mindful of how you walk.
Walking is one of the most common exercises because it is simple and easy to do—you just walk. You may walk to your workplace or any destination, or you simply walk as a physical exercise. But walking is more than a physical activity that promotes your physical health; walking can enhance your mind power to help you cope with your everyday stress—if you have the know-how.
Most of us just walk with our feet, but without fully utilizing the exercise of walking to benefit the mind, because walking is so automatic and mechanical that we no longer pay any attention to our walking. In other words, we don’t concentrate when we are walking or doing the exercise of walking. We are so caught up with our destination—such as attending a meeting, or going shopping—that we have no awareness of the process of walking. Many of us have put our feet on automatic pilot, and we just walk like robots.
The human brain is the hardware of your whole being. Your brain is responsible for your stress. It is all in your mind. You are what you think, and you have become what you think—or the realities you have created for yourself. Stress is all in your perceptions; what is stress to you may not be stress to others. Therefore, manage your stress through you mind. You control your own thinking, and your brain creates your own world: how you live your life, and how happy you are, and how you see your everyday stress. And you are responsible for how you feel—even the stresses in life.
This is what happens when stress occurs. You have a thought (usually a negative one) about the stressful event or situation. Your thought sends electrical signals to your brain, which releases chemicals, and you become aware of your own thinking. No matter what you think, your thought is real to you, and must be treated as real. The goal is not to discard that thought or to distract yourself from that thought, but to change your perception of that thought.
So, how to walk to de-stress?
When walking, first and foremost, pay attention to your breaths: your breathing in and breathing out, as well as the intensity of your breaths. Next, pay attention to the sensations of your body, such as the feelings of your soles and toes as your shoes touch the ground. Also, pay attention to the shifting of your body weight as you move from your right foot to the left foot. Just be mindful of what is happening to your body as you are walking. The objective of mindfulness walking is to stop your thinking mind for deep relaxation to de-stress yourself. It is like walking meditation
To be able to change that thought, you must be aware of your body's reactions to the chemicals released by your brain as that thought occurs. For example, notice how your muscles tense up when you are distressed.
The next step is to talk back to that negative thought. Change your thought, and do not believe it. Learn how to train your mind to change your thought, and accordingly change your feeling about that thought. Reinforce your changed feeling by talking back to that thought which gives you the stress. Always use positive affirmations.
Next time, when you are confronted by a stressful situation, think "STOP!" Take a deep breath. Do some mental reflection, such as asking yourself why you think you are distressed. Acknowledge any feeling of anxiety, and become aware of the subtle changes in your physical body. Talk back to any negative thought responsible for creating the stress. The final step is to take appropriate action. Make a list of possible solutions to the problem. If it requires tackling the problem immediately, take the action at once: procrastination only aggravates the situation. But defer taking action if you are able to deal with it more effectively later on. Relax, such as taking a deep meditation, or doing something enjoyable to calm yourself.
Use your mind to manage your daily stress. Your brain is like your body muscle: you need to exercise it to improve your memory, enhance your cognitive power, and increase your IQ.
All in all, use meditation to give clarity of mind, and use mindfulness to enhance your walking exercise/
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau