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What is stress?
We all talk about stress, but we are not always clear about what it is. This is because stress comes from both the good and the bad things that happen to us. If we did not feel any stress, we would not be alive! Stress becomes a problem when we are not sure how to handle an event or a situation. Then worry sets in, and we feel “stressed.”
Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Cortisol has been shown to damage and kill cells in the hippocampus (the brain area responsible for your episodic memory), and there is robust evidence that chronic stress causes premature brain aging. Without cortisol you would die – but too much of it is not a good thing.
How Mindfulness can help
Let's start with why mindfulness can help you. How much time do you spend remembering things that have happened in the past or thinking about things that are going to happen in the future? Versus what is happening now – the present moment?
Mindfulness is seeing things more clearly, and paying attention moment to moment to moment. When you are mindful, you notice what is happening—as it is happens. This creates a space, a pause in which you can respond considerately to situations, rather than react. Creative possibilities open up; new ways of being with life’s challenges can present themselves.
Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when paying attention to the present moment, with non-judgment.
Today, there is a growing interest, in, and research corroborates the benefits of, mindfulness training. The new breakthroughs in neuroscience show that by practicing mindfulness, the brain can be shaped for greater happiness, love, wisdom and greater emotional balance in turbulent times, as well as healthier relationships, more effective actions, and greater peace of mind.
How we can help
Our sessions are based on the principles of the MBSR workshop at SoundsTrue. It was created in alignment with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School from 1979.
“The present is the only time that any of us have to be alive – to know anything – to perceive – to learn – to act – to change – to heal.”
~ Dr. Kabat-Zinn
By Melanie Taylor, Guest Blogger for the BodyMind Institute