The experience of stress is a topic everyone can relate to. We all experience it from time to time. Many of us experience it frequently. Tens of millions of us have stress-related illnesses such as chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, and body pain. Most of us think stress is a terrible thing and mostly this is right. But stress is there for a reason, we just aren’t managing it effectively.
Stress can result in addictions, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Which happens to be ten times more widespread than it was just a generation ago. Our nervous systems were not built for the stressors of the 21st century. Between work family and finances, we have constant deadlines and demands.
For many people, chronic stress is so common it becomes a way of life. The feeling of overwhelm, anxiety and depression has been normalised. We look around, and everyone is stressed. So we don't view it as a problem, but it is.
When we are under stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, which wake up the body for emergency action. We can feel stress in our bodies, our heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, and our senses feel sharper. Ultimately this fight or flight stress response is our bodies way of protecting us. In emergency situations, stress can actually save our lives by making us alert when we need to slam on the brakes or quickly swerve out of the way to avoid an accident. So you can see how stress can be useful, but it’s the opposite of helpful when our fight or flight response is stuck in the on position, and that's the case for many of us.
The stress we experience in our mind not only impacts our physical body but it alters the way we think feel and relate. The good news is that we literally have the power to rewire our own brain and even though our mind, body and nervous systems have been exposed to stress, mindfulness can significantly contribute to healing that damage.
Much of our stress is caused by problems that feel out of our control or inconvenience us, and we have this idea that if we just fixed each problem everything would be ok. The thing is when we fix one problem it doesn’t take long before another appears. Our issues change as we do. If we are poor, we deal with poor people problems. If we are rich, we deal with rich people problems. If we are single, we deal with single people problems. And if we are married, we deal with married people problems, etc. Problems never disappear, and we can't change that, but we can change how we perceive those problems and respond to them.
Mindfulness teaches you to recognise thoughts that may be damaging and then gives us the tools to do something about it. The simple act of focussing on your breath helps to break the ‘loops’ we find our mind going around in. It acts as a circuit breaker and literally gives our brain a break.
If you follow someone like Tim Ferriss, you’ll know from his books and podcast that the most successful people on our planet use mindfulness. They meditate. And they know how to step out of stress to create a more harmonious nervous system to regulate cortisol and adrenaline.
Remember, chronically high levels of cortisol and adrenaline are massively detrimental to our health. Meditation and mindfulness directly impact the lowering of stress and therefore our hormone levels.
Could mindfulness become the cornerstone of your business values? Or do you wear stress as a badge of honour?
Below are some mindfulness apps that aim to stop you thinking….
All it takes is 5-10 minutes per day.
For further information on mindfulness Nurture Her speaker and meditation superstar, Tami Roos, would be more than happy to have a chat. She’ll be in Fiji with us October 24-28 or check out her website www.tamiroos.com