He’s the ex Bachie and Manly resident who now runs a successful mindfulness business. Here Luke McLeod gives his top tips on dealing with stress.
More regular short breaks
“A study by the Draugiem Group, which used a computer application to track the work habits of employees found those who took regular breaks showed significantly lower stress levels than their peers who put their heads down and kept working till the job was done. Specifically, researchers found the ideal work rhythm was 52 minutes of work time followed by a 17-minute break.”
Up your curiosity
“I think the commonly known quote ‘curiosity killed the cat’ should be changed to ‘curiosity calmed the cat’. Try keeping a cat locked in a room with nothing for it to do and it’d be safe to say that it will soon begin to actually feel quite anxious and stressed. The wonderful and underrated thing about curiosity is that it pulls the mind out of the thinking state and pushes it into present moment awareness.
“Giving the mind time to rest and recharge. It’s kind of like putting it into neutral. So next time when you’re feeling a bit stressed, go for a walk and just simply try to notice as many different things as possible around you.
“This could be looking at some flowers you never noticed before, how the clouds are moving above you, the texture of an old run-down building. It can be anything, just take it all in and let your mind soak up the restful presence of the present moment.”
Jump in the ocean
“There’s something about the ocean and how it washes away the stress. There’s even been studies done around ‘ocean therapy’ that involves exposure to the ocean environment to help people cope with a variety of different mental, emotional and physical illness. I suppose it does make sense considering that our bodies are actually made up of 70% water. So next time when you’re feeling a bit stressed, go for a quick swim down in the ocean and notice how you feel after.”
“Another highly effective way to release stress quickly is to try some deep breathing exercises. Try to notice what your body does unconsciously the next time you feel frustrated or stressed? I’d be fairly confident that you take a big, deep sigh. If this is your body’s auto response (to take a deep breath in and let it all out) than it makes sense to explore different breathing techniques if you’re feeling stressed. Some of the more common breathing exercises I would recommend are box breathing, fire breath and any pranayama techniques.
“Of course, I am going to recommend meditation seeing that I’m a meditation teacher. But even though meditation can be a great exercise to release stress, I would actually recommend trying the above suggestions first, particularly if you’re new to it. Why? Because meditation is primarily a preventative practice. In other words, a wonderful exercise to do to keep your stress levels at bay and for them to stay there.”
Luke McLeod is currently running a 5-week Mindfulness program called 5-Alive. The next 5-Alive will be announced shortly where Luke will be delivering 5 live guided meditations each week for 5 weeks that you can attend and use as time to reset and recharge.
“After 2020, I know we’re all very keen to run into 2021 as fast as possible. Which, yes, is exciting but we also know that all this effort can be quite stressful and overwhelming. Therefore the focus of these 5 weeks is to actually be a companion of sorts to help you relax and recharge as you go about achieving your 2021 goals,” he says.
“We believe that taking small moments to reset and recharge is the secret to sustainable and happy high performance.”
For more info on the 5-Wk Mindfulness Challenge, check out https://www.soulalive.com.au/5alive
Keen to sample some free, local meditation get togethers?
A local registered not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers called Making Meditation Mainstream is inviting locals to join them on Saturday mornings at sunrise for a free meditation practice. spreading the practice of Meditation as a powerful tool for overall health and wellness.
Organiser Lorelie Luna Ladiges said it was a great opportunity for connectedness without the hype. Attendees just turn up to the beach at about 6.30am each Saturday and sit for meditation together, rain or shine.
There are now six locations for this on the Northern Beaches:
- Manly South Steyne
- Manly North Steyne
- Freshwater Beach
- Dee Why Beach
- North Narrabeen Beach
- Avalon Beach
“Our method of Meditation is simple and we do not follow a specific ‘type’ or ‘hype’ but we promote connection to your Self and the Community while sitting together at the beaches every Saturday morning at 6.30am, rain or shine,” Loralie said.
For more details visit Making Meditation Mainstream’s website.