High levels of stress can really effect our abilities. We can see stress crop up in a lot of different areas in our life: home, lack of support, traumatic events, pressure to do well, and even pressure from those who are close to us. What mindfulness does is bring awareness back to our reactions to stress. We can learn ways to practice managing those stresses.
How does stress feel? Why does it happen? Is it even useful?
The stress response is our body’s way of telling us to get to safety. It gives us the action to find safety, fight or freeze until the danger goes away. It has been useful for humans when survival was of utmost importance. However, in our modern times, our stress response is activated when we aren’t really in danger, and that can cause some problems.
When the stress response is activated, that deactivates our brain. When that happens it’s less likely for us to think, remember, make choices, listen, and control our impulses. In this way it really does effect how we interact with people around us and even in environments where there appears to be no threat. Over time, activating the stress response can have a lot of long term negative consequences on our health and well being. Managing stress to activate a different kind of response, such as relaxation can help lessen the damage stress can cause on our body.
Here’s how you can start:
- Identify what causes you stress
- Notice the signs of stress in your body
- Use tools (like deep breathing) to help defuse the stress response
In the coming weeks, look for more tools and commentary on handling stress, being emotionally aware, self-regulation, and creating healthy habits.