Stress & Mindfulness, 21stcentury buzzwords. It is not surprising today that we find a rise of people practicing meditation techniques, taking mindfulness courses, using HeadSpace as a tool for relaxation. In fact due to the amount of stress people live, a solution must be found in order for us to still find a way to enjoy life. In this article I’d like to show how looking inside is a necessary step to finally live a harmonious life.
If we have no job, not finding a job is stressing.
If we have too much work, we stress of not finishing on time and meeting the deadlines.
If we have too little work, we stress of not knowing what to do.
Any situation can become, if we want it to, our new source of stress.
When asking people what is the source of their stress, they will often say that this person or this situation is the problem. If this situation or person would disappear, the stress would disappear to be gone.
Is the situation or the person the real problem ? Or is it our reaction to it ?
Where is stress ? Within you
Who has created it ? You
Who is responsible for it ? You
Maybe a situation has triggered your reaction. But it is your reaction. 100% your making, 100% your responsibility. For you to see that it is 100% your making, you must look inside. Because stress is happening inside of you, not outside.
What if we look online for the definition of stress, here is what you would find:
“Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stressresponse.” The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you”.
This means that consciously or unconsciously we perceive different situations or people as a danger and we react to it in order to protect our self. Stress is the activation of the “sympathetic branch” of the autonomic nervous system, and it is suppose to give us extra energy to fight or flight the situation.
Breathing gets faster, heart rate is rising, your body is preparing itself for action. Very useful if you encounter a tiger in the jungle, you have extra energy to run away.
Is there a tiger running behind you all day long ? Most of our perceived danger are fully imagined and not real.
When you have a lot of work, you are not stressing because there is a lot of work, you are stressing because you fear that you will not finish on time. Hence your body’s reaction to this perceives danger (fear of not finishing on time) is stress.
When you stress before giving a conference or a speech, you are stressing because you fear that it might go wrong, fear of what people will think of you. Hence your body’s reaction to people’s potential judgment is a stress.
This is where meditation has it’s utility. When you meditate, what you actually do is taking a look at what is going inside of you. You become aware of your thoughts, your emotions, your feelings and your body
Most of the time our attention is not within, as it is caught into the outside world, so we cannot even understand, nor see why we are so stressed and why do we react so much to every situation.
Please take the time to experiment it yourself and see how your thoughts, emotions and body works.
Become alert of your own thoughts and do not try to stop them. Simply hear them passing one after the other. You will notice they are like clouds in the sky, they come and go. They only stay if you interact with them. After some time, you will notice you don’t even have a thought coming into your mind.
When you simply let thoughts be and kindly watch them come and go, you will realize that thoughts have the importance we choose to give them. So if you don’t give so much importance to your negative thoughts, you will see that your reality is not so negative.
Our thoughts are directly linked with our emotions. If you think about a situation from the past that has strongly impacted you, by simply thinking of it, the emotion awakens in you.
Emotions & feelings
When you are feeling angry, sad or stressed, take a moment to feel it in your body.
You will notice that those negative feelings or emotions we have are simply an amount of energy that is inside your body, following a very precise pattern.
Take the time to feel where is your anger located, where is your stress located. You will notice that by simply allowing those emotions or feelings to be, they will vanish very quickly.
Most of the time we don’t allow those “negative” emotions to be, we try to repress them.
But repressing them will only delay their time to manifest in a much stronger way. The more you try to be less stressed or angry, the more you will become. Do not repress those feelings and emotions. By allowing them and by accepting them fully, you actually release them and you also release the mental reactions.
Next time you are angry or stressed try this : instead of blaming the outside world, take a moment to feel the emotion and welcome it inside of you. Everything will be much clearer afterwards. You will not react out of your emotional state, but you will rather act out of your intelligence.