Stress is something innate in life. At one time or another, everyone has experience stress and that is completely normal. In particular, stress is your body’s way of responding to some changes in your life, on your body and on your thoughts. It is a natural reflex of your body to anything new or unusual and normally stays not for a long period of time.
However, if your stress is not going away and is already causing you mental health and physical issues, it is best to immediately address this issue before it becomes serious. If you, or someone you love is battling stress and its symptoms are already taking over your life, do not hesitate to seek medical assistance. Several mental health specialists offer various mental health services that will guide you the proper steps to take in order to recover from stress.
Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice whereby you direct your mind to focus on your experiences in the present moment. It is a unique technique that teaches us to be unconditionally present with whatever is happening in our life, no matter what it is.
Cultivating mindfulness is the key to combat the sufferings and discomforts brought by stress. It allows us to recognise natural wisdom, leading us to stop perpetuating the unnecessary misery that occurs when we try to avoid the pain we inescapably experience as a result of simply being alive.
The power of mindfulness meditation
Buddha once taught that the source of human suffering stem from our inability to stay focus in the present situation. Attempting to escape from our direct experience normally gives us an illusion of quelling our suffering but in reality, this behaviour only provides an adverse effect.
The mental health benefits of mindfulness meditation are endless and even universities in the UK and in the US have studied and found it to be effective in aiding stress by enhancing our inner strength – beneficial for building emotional resilience when faced with distressing events in the future.
Practising mindfulness meditation means being able to be with our present experiences instead of trying to get away from them. It is about paying close attention to tiny details of our experiences as they appear and subside.
Benefits of mindfulness meditation
- Stress – Studies have shown that stress reduction appears to have a common link with mindfulness meditation. Stress is believed to be correlated with decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex of the human brain, which is thought to be unsettling. Exercising mindfulness meditation allows for conscious thinking in the prefrontal cortex, prompting a reverse pattern of the brain activity under stress and bars the increase of cortisol level in the body.
- Anxiety – People who suffer from anxiety tend to experience tension, headaches, heart palpitations, tightness in your chest and even sweaty palms. There are many techniques that can be employed in making the symptoms of anxiety go away and some involved medications. If you are looking for a treatment option that does not involve medications, mindfulness meditation is right for you.
- Sleep – Practising mindfulness meditation regularly have shown to improve the quality of sleep of those who suffer from prolonged stress. In fact, older adults who are battling moderate sleep disturbances saw positive results in their sleeping patterns and sleep quality through a mind-body therapy, according to a scientific data gathered from a study conducted on the efficiency of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation has shown to be very effective in alleviating the signs and symptoms of various mental health issues as it restricts the production of stress hormones in our body.
Mindfulness meditation enhances one’s ability to be more present in their current situation, instead of trying to avoid the painful discomfort brought by many stressors in our life. This allows us to savour the events in our life, whether good or bad and enhances our ability to react constructively and attentively to them, making us more adaptive to the fast-moving society.
Living in the moment means opening your heart to a deeper level of unequivocal love for oneself as it brings you closer to knowing your capabilities and weaknesses. Doing so makes you a more caring person – a characteristic that will help you improve your relationship with other people.
By giving your 100% attention to the here and now, you are allowing yourself to be less likely to fall into the trap of being engrossed with negative thoughts about the past and even the future.
Wendy Whitehead worked as a teaching assistant at two special needs schools in London before embarking on a different career as a marketing consultant.