Is Mindfulness the Answer for Day-to-Day Stress?

It's one of those words you might have heard tossed around lately without really understanding what it means. It's definitely worth learning a little more about, though, because mindfulness is a great way to combat the day-to-day stresses in life that wear us down.

Mindfulness is becoming a very popular therapeutic technique, and refers to a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Practicing mindfulness puts you in control of your thoughts and feelings by learning to focus on what you are experiencing from moment to moment, which can help reduce the effects of the stresses, pressures and obstacles you encounter on a daily basis. One definition of mindfulness is "a purposeful focus, without drifting into your thoughts of the past of concerns about the future, or getting caught up in opinions about what is happening to you."

It is well known that stress and stressors directly affect our health, whether we want to admit it or not. Stress not only affects our body physically but also affects our emotions and behaviors. Positive emotions and thoughts can both result from and be more easily directed to a healthy lifestyle.

Common effects of stress ...

... On your Body

... On your Mood

... On your Behavior

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue and sleep problems
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal

If you can learn to recognize the effects of stress on your body, mood, and behavior, you will be better able to combat them. If you can't remove the cause of the stress from your life, mindfulness can help to limit the impact on you.

Start by practicing mindfulness meditation for just a few minutes each day. Follow these steps:

  1. Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  3. Begin to widen your focus, becoming aware of sounds and sensations around you.
  4. Embrace and consider each thought or sensation as it enters your consciousness without judging it to be good or bad
  5. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing and then work towards expanding your awareness again.

Practicing mindfulness can be beneficial physically, mentally and socially. The more you practice mindfulness meditation the better control you will have to use it when you need it the most.

This post has been reproduced with the permission of Dr. SherryTM

This post has been reproduced with the permission of Dr. SherryTM


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