Stress is often difficult to separate from the very fabric of our lives. From the time we awaken in the morning hour to the time we fall asleep at night, stress is always present in one form or another and often escalates through a day. Many experts agree that stress is the "silent killer." Studies have indicated that too much challenge or hardship can cause an increase in the risk of illness.
Stress reduction technologies and methods have evolved over time to address the many twists and turns in our lives that can lead to unrelenting levels of anxiety. Keeping stress at a manageable level has become a priority in the pursuit of happiness. Mindfulness with regard to understanding what we are experiencing when under pressure allows us to manage our stress levels with great efficiency, thereby avoiding the health-threatening effects of stress.
Increasing our knowledge of stress begins with self-inquiry; a self-evaluation of how our body responds to any event in our lives, positive or negative. Each of us reacts to stress in very different ways - what traumatizes one person may not effect another. These coping mechanisms vary person to person because of how we view and respond to the event. Career advancement or marriage may trigger unforeseen anxiety or absolute ecstasy depending on how the event is perceived and responded to internally.
The fact that the "fight or flight" mechanism dates back to pre-historic times suggests that humans have been experiencing stress in all the same ways forever. Bodily alerts like elevated heart and breath rates, rapid blood flow to muscles, and high cortisol output from the adrenals are all commonly experienced physiological expressions necessary for survival. We must be ready to either fight off a potential threat or run for our lives.
There are many ways to effectively manage stress. Good chiropractic care, exercise, proper sleep, nutrition, deep breathing, better time management, and choosing the attitude you hold toward stressors in your life can all play a part in reducing the impact of stress in your life. Throw in a sense of humor and some stressful situations will melt under the weight of broad laughter as you mindfully recognize the less serious side to the situation at hand.
Mindfulness is a lifetime engagement and is best supported through the practices of meditation and yoga. This combination for utilizing your innate capacity for moving, feeling, thinking, and feeling well are ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the ways in which unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
Most of you would probably agree that your mind is a factor in creating stress and stress-related illness. Allergies, anxiety disorders, asthma, binge eating; depression, fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep problems, substance abuse, pain, and cancer have all been identified as challenges that may be related in one form or another to an accumulation of stressors. Although meditation is not a replacement for more traditional approaches to chronic illness and/or stress management, it will serve to compliment any treatment protocol you may have discovered in you quest to reduce your overall stress levels.
Meditation is well known for reducing overall arousal and body/mind altering emotional reactivity. Benefits of meditation include gaining new perspectives of stressful situations, building skills to manage stress, increasing self-awareness, focusing on the present, and reducing negative emotions.
In essence, meditation nourishes your ability to become more mindful of what it is that stresses your body and how to create moment to moment solutions for stress related events in your life.