According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Chronic stress can also reduce your clarity, productivity, and ability to succeed.

Since stress can erode our health and compromise our ability to succeed, is there a way we can counterbalance the ongoing stress of day-to-day living?

Shallow breathing is an indicator that the body is stressed or in a state of “fight-or-flight,” while deep- and full-body breathing is an indication that the body is in an open, relaxed, and balanced state. In this state, the conscious problem-solving mind is activated, which gives the individual the capacity to find creative solutions for their challenges in an effective manner. For thousands of years people have used the practices of meditation, labyrinth walking, tai chi, chi gong, and yoga to reduce stress, activate their conscious mind, and restore balance in their body. All of these practices share a key component—deep abdominal or full-body breathing. Deep abdominal or full-body breathing has the ability to “yoke” or synchronize the body and mind, and move it out of a state of stress and into a calm, clear, balanced state.

Finding the time for a practice of meditation, labyrinth walking, tai chi, chi gong, or yoga is difficult for some people, but at the same time I think everyone could benefit from having a simple, inexpensive tool that can reduce stress and restore balance in their body and mind. Labyrinth, the fourth activity in the I Create What I Believe! Program, which has its roots in yoga breathing and labyrinth walking, is a simple and easy way to become more aware of your breath, activate your conscious mind, and move your whole system out of stress and into a calm, clear, balanced state. The added benefit is that unlike mediation, tai chi, chi gong or yoga, you can do this activity anywhere or anytime you find yourself stressed.

With this in mind, I invite you to explore the attached video of the Labyrinth, and share your experience with the ICWIB community on Facebook.

If you would like to explore the ICWIB Program more fully, the following activities are currently available on the website for free (just click the link to access an activity).

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