What is stress?
Nowadays everyone is talking about how to relieve stress. But no one is really taking the time to think what is stress exactly.
When we have a lot do at work, we are stressed.
When we are out of a job, we are stressed.
When things doesn’t go our way, we are stressed.
When things do go our way, we are still stressed worrying about when the good luck will run out and things will go wrong!
The truth is no matter what our responsibilities are in the office being a CEO, manager, or an intern; we all have our own kinds of stress!
Stress does not depend on the external environment, stress comes from within! If we don’t understand the true nature of our inner world, no matter what role you play in life you will always be stressed.
The Nature of Stress
The whole world right now is impacted by COVID-19. No one is certain about how much worst or how much longer this disaster will last. All we know is this virus outbreak is straining our daily lives and threatening humanity as a whole.
Some people are forced to be in quarantine. They feel depressed and angry. Everyday they can not help themselves but to keep checking virus updates on the news, they are worry about the cleanliness of food, concern about wearing masks, even nervous about buying things online. They spend their days in stress and anxiety, eventually these negative thoughts takes a toll on their physical and mental health.
Some people are forced to be in quarantine. They do their best to apply all protective measures and then know to wasting energy worrying about everything. They decided instead to use this extra time for do things they’ve always wanted to do but has no time for like reading, exercising, and finishing a self improvement project. They spend their days in peace and positivity.
The same situation, imposed on different people, triggers a very different responses.
Stress is not related to external people, things, and situations. Stress comes from within, from how our perceptions and reactions. Because stress comes from within, this empowers each person to take control. Learning to observe and manage our mind, the source of stress, we can do distinguish what are real threats and what are false beliefs.
If we keep worrying, the problems don’t go away, we become victims of stress.
If we keep paying attention and thoughts to one thing, that one thing will grow infinitely.
Everyone has the choice and the ability to cultivate inner peace. By transforming our perception and reactions, we can also transform chaos to calm.
How does meditation helps?
Meditation and mindfulness practices are excellent tools that trains and discipline the mind to deal with stress. From meditation perspective, every person has a pure a calm center within known as the “true self”. However we’ve lost touch with of the true self as we’ve let our environment take over and pop-lute our true nature with foriegn qualities like fear, anxiety and stress.
The practice of meditation is learning how to reconnect with your inner calm center.
One simply way to explain the powerful effects of the meditation: think of strong wind on a sunny day, no matter how strong and forceful the wind becomes, it cannot blow away the brightness of the sun. The practice of meditation is to become as bright as the sun, shining light no matter what. When you are connected with your inner calm center, you become the light, the strong winds of the world does not dim your brightness.
A recent Harvard study found that by practicing meditation for 30 minutes each day for 8 weeks, the brain’s gray matter density in the amygdala begins to decrease, which reduces anxiety and stress. Meditation not only helps you relax, it physically changes your brain and your body’s ability to respond to stress!
How to get started?
Learning meditation is very simple. These days, there are many different methods, almost too many! For beginners to start, keep it simple and follow these 3 steps:
Relax the body. You can scan your body, part by part, from head to toe, relaxing each one as your attention passes through the parts.
Focus on the breath. After your full body is relaxed, bring your awareness onto the breath. Feel each inhalation and exhalation. Observe the quality of your breath. When thoughts, emotions, or distraction arises, don’t be discouraged. Just notice the distractions and come back to the breath. The more you practice, the stronger your attention and connection with your breath would be.
Be in stillness. Resist any temptations to move or shift the body, not even to scratch or adjust your seat. Being in complete stillness is the most effective way to cultivate your concentration, and build tolerance against distractions. Sit in stillness and practice for at least 20-30 minutes each day.
There are 3 common mistakes that beginners experience. First is unable to relax and sit till. Second is falling asleep. Third is trying too hard to “block” thoughts. The first and second problem can be avoided by choosing the practice meditate first thing in the morning when you are already relaxed and energized. The third problem can be addressed by knowing that the natural function of the mind is just to produce thoughts, there’s not need to try and stop thinking. Whenever thoughts, feelings, and emotions arises, you are encouraged to just observe and notice the distraction and then let it go by bringing attention back to your breathing. Let these thoughts, feelings, and emotions be in the background while your primary focus is the breath. Like the bright sun in the sky, unaffected by the wind, rain and storm, the sun’s always there shining light.
Practice with us online! Follow our YouTube channel and check out Lydia’s 15 minutes guided mindfulness meditation for beginner using these 3 steps above.