How to unwind by unplugging

- The mindfulness meditation class at Bella Prana Yoga in Tampa gives people a chance to take the focus off everyday life. 

"Obviously, people are resting, they're relaxing, and therefore it’s reducing stress hormones," explained instructor and psychotherapist Gwen Hanner. 

She says reducing stress hormones reduces blood sugar and pressure. However, learning to meditate effectively takes time. 

"It's like building a muscle; if you go to the gym, you're building a muscle. You have to practice," she continued.

Meditation is just one form of mindfulness. 

"Mindfulness allows us to say, ‘What am I experiencing right now and let me get back to what's most important right now,’" explained Nick Joyce, psychologist at the University of South Florida's counseling center. He uses mindfulness to treat everything from alcohol and drug abuse to overeating and anger issues.

Joyce adds, in the past, many of us had to wait for things without the benefit of cell phones or tablets. That forced us to develop mindfulness skills. However, younger generations have been plugged in all their lives. "They're constantly being distracted and constantly in a screen."

Mindfulness can prevent students from over-reacting when faced with normal emotions like anger. "If I'm just reacting with rage, I'm not mindful and I'm going to do something I'm going to regret," said Joyce.

If everyone took the time to be mindful, Hanner believes it could benefit society. "We would be kinder. We would have more compassion for ourselves and others."

LINK: For more information on mindfulness meditation classes at Bella Prana Yoga, click www.bellaprana.com.

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