How to lower stress
Nurture the quiet mind
It’s easy to be swept away by never-ending demands in our fast-paced lives. How do you manage and reduce stress?
Most of us have activities that give us peace and quiet. What’s your activity? It may be in nature, watching a beautiful sunset. Or spending time with loved ones. Maybe you lose yourself while playing a sport. Music or pleasant smells are other doorways to restorative relaxation.
This sense of quiet is valued in all cultures. It’s found in art and literature throughout the ages. When we experience it, there’s a natural sense of well-being.
In fact, studies* show that looking at natural landscapes such as trees, lakes, and vegetation can help lower blood pressure, reduce tension, and speed recovery from stressful experiences, including surgery. Even watching colorful fish in an aquarium can help to lower blood pressure and ease pain during medical procedures.
The key is to find the place or activity that lets you experience your quiet mind—and then enjoy it frequently.
Kaiser Permanente members can explore some of the programs offered in our Health Education Centers. For example, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a meditation program recommended for managing ongoing health conditions. We also offer movement programs such as chi gong, tai chi, or yoga. To learn more and for information about any fees, call your local Health Education center or see the classes available at your local Kaiser Permanente facility.
*Healthy Pleasures, Robert Ornstein, PhD, and David Sobel, MD, 1989.