According to Wikipedia, “Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a program that incorporates mindfulness to assist people with pain and a range of conditions and life issues that were initially difficult to treat in a hospital setting.”
It still floors me that this day in age, we still see mindfulness-based stress reduction programs as a taboo, or as a last resort. Why the “hospital” first? Why not think outside the box first?
I believe it’s mostly because of the misunderstanding of what meditation and mindfulness really are…
Let me ask, how often do you pay attention to the birds singing in the trees when you wake up? Or the crickets chirping at night when you are getting ready for bed?
We are so busy in today’s world, full of alternate realities that grab our attention on a consistent basis. We have lost all connection with Mother Nature who only manifests herself when focused on the current moment in time.
This is what mindfulness is; paying attention to the world around you and engaging with it more mentally and spiritually and less physically.
By doing this, you are providing long-lasting therapy for stress! And been termed as ‘mindfulness stress reduction’.
(Get more information on misunderstanding of what meditation is here: 7 Myths of Mindfulness In Plain English)
What Is Stress & How Does stress work?
Do you really know what stress is? Have you stopped to think about it? I know I didn’t until I started meditating and doing research.
I found this definition of what is stress on Wikipedia…
“Stress is the body’s method of reacting to a condition such as a threat, challenge or physical and psychological barrier. Stimuli that alter an organism’s environment are responded to by multiple systems in the body.”
Do you ever keep thinking about something so petty that it does or doesn’t have a solution at all? All are equal reasons to not worry about your stressor, but well, you’re gonna do it anyways!
That is what we call stress.
Stress comes from anxiety and the nature of situations not going according to the way we want it. This is what Centerpointe would call ‘Our Map Of Reality.’
In one’s life everything might not necessarily go the way we planned it, and sometimes it takes a sharp left turn… the way we didn’t want it to.
4 Medical Conditions Prolonged episodes of stress can cause
Not many people correlate stress in conjunction with chronic medical conditions… However, there is tons of research and reports that have been posted about the physical side-effects of prolonged stress.
I will be referencing Wikipedia quite a bit here because they explain it much better than I ever could.
Below are 4 of the most well-know stress-related medical conditions caused by stress:
So, if we take a look at Wikipedia at the definition of major depressive disorder or depression, here’s what we get…
Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause.
This does not sound like fun, does it? And, if it’s already a condition that you currently battling in life, then I’m sorry you are going through this. But please remember, you are NOT alone!!
I was just like you once. Whether it be, fits of rage, crying in the corner for no apparent reason, self-esteem so low that you just hate every part of yourself, to not wanting to be on this planet anymore… Yes, I was severely depressed
and I didn’t know what to do or where to turn.
Then one day my life changed in a blink of an eye…
I received my first meditation CD in the mail from Centerpointe Research Institute. It was 2008, yes, I’m old I know lol 🙂 I almost threw it out but decided what the hell… Might as well, I have nothing else to lose.
And at the time I really didn’t. I was on medical disability making pennies and living with my sister (which I’ll be forever grateful for!).
So I grabbed my CD player, popped on my headphones and relaxed… It lasted m15 minutes and I couldn’t believe how I felt when I took my headphones off. I had never felt so relaxed in my life.
That Holosync Meditation CD changed my life for good. Centerpointe has made a customer out of me for life, And I can’t thank them enough…
I Want You To Have The Same Opportunity I Had
Change Your Life For Good Like I Did!!!
When it comes to anxiety, Wikipedia explains it as the following:
Anxiety is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behaviour such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination. It is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events…”
I’m sure we all know someone in our lives that have anxiety, if not having it yourself. I’ve had anxiety most of my life but didn’t really know what it was until I started getting older. I went on a very low dose of Xanax.
As of this writing, it has been 4 months since I’ve taken any medications for my anxiety. I contribute this to my meditation practices as well as recently introducing CBD Oil into my daily routine.
If interested, you can get detailed information on CBD Oil and its benefits here at my CBD Pure Hemp Oil Review I recently posted.
3.) Personality Disorders
This is what I found on Wikipedia regarding personality disorders:
Personality disorders(PD) are a class of mental disorders characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience, exhibited across many contexts and deviating from those accepted by the individual’s culture.
So let me try and explain this a little more because this explanation was hard for me to comprehend as well…
If you don’t already know, personality is defined as the way we think. It’s our feelings and our behaviors that make us different from everybody else. It’s what makes us unique.
Our personalities are shaped and influenced by our environments while growing up, our surroundings, life-altering situations, and characteristics that we inherit as time passes. When we speak on personality disorders we are talking about a disorder that causes one to behave in ways that are not commonly expected from a normal person.
4.) Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease
This is a big one!! Unfortunately, many of my family members have passed due to heart diseases, (and many other medical issues), including my mother. Stress is not the #1 reason for heart disease but, it’s not something to take lightly. So I’m glad to be able to help educate you on this.
When it comes to cardiovascular disease heart.org explains it like this:
Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can block the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.
We need to remember when it comes to your stressor, or a stressful situation, this will set off a chain of event in your body. Adrenaline is released, your heart rate and breathing will speed up causing your blood pressure to rise.
When we have stress you may also start to feel dizzy, get a headache, forgetful, start feeling cranky and annoyed, feel fatigued but can’t sleep. When your body starts exhibiting these conditions, you may start to get depressed on top of everything else.
Depression combined with stress may affect behaviors that can increase the risk of heart disease. For example, overeating, smoking, drinking, physical in-activity… these are all bad habits associated with depression. Then go ahead and add stress to that and you have a double-whammy!
Any of these conditions can occur once, twice or continue to happen for the rest of your life. The main reason probably being, is you aren’t able to deal with your stressors like you should be able to.
I can’t state enough that stress is real! It’s just like any other emotion you have. And you need to treat it as such!
Now that’s where mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques come into play.
(Get more information on what mindfulness really is here: Do You Know What Mindfulness Is For?)
Where to start with Mindfulness stress reduction programs:
Mindfulness, (as you have probably guessed), does not come from a bottle of pills. It is the process of noticing and observing the small things in life. Try and observe them so closely as to bring out the inner beauty of nature, and thus in return taking your mind off your stressor for the moment.
I’m going to tell you… If you can master this part of your life, it will be magical 🙂
These techniques can be anything from meditation, yoga, relaxation, tai chi, to retreating to secluded spots for a few days, listening to some of the soothing sounds of nature.
Doing this regularly will build up your levels of mindfulness. Someone low on the awareness level may not be intelligent enough to notice the voices you normally don’t pay attention too.
To rewire your brain the mindful way, you may have to consider following a mindfulness program. Don’t worry you don’t have to carry books around with you for this every day.
All you need is your brain and a little openness to see and be able to comprehend the little things in your life.
Read on, because you may be surprised… This might change the way you look at things.
(Get more information on Opiate use here: Understanding the New Opioid Law 2018)
How does stress relief with mindfulness work?
Mindfulness does not necessarily mean or aim to draw your attention towards the small things and divert your brain from the reality of your situations. It is more about focusing on reality and determining the cause of your stressors and the effects of your response. As I explain in more detail here at Do You Know What Mindfulness Is For?
For example, you may have come across a situation where someone cuts in front of you while you were standing in a long line without asking. This will naturally piss you off, right?
We are all made up of energy, once your energy rises, (positive or negative), the people around you will start feeling pissed off as well. All without anyone being aware of their reasons why. You might even yell and sometimes get physical with them just to save a spot in line!!
Mindfulness, in this case, will be to understand that no one does anything without reason. The working of the world has always revolved around ‘cause and effect’. The sooner you understand this, the easier your life will become.
We all have our reasons we get stressed out. So, let’s keep using the example we used above. Someone cuts in front of you while standing in line. This offends and stresses you out! The best way to handle this situation would be to look at the cause of your stress.
Now I know you all are saying, ‘that’s a lot easier said than done!”… Right?
When a stressor hits you like this, try your best to stop, and think about the ‘cause and effect theory’. Step back, and realize their urgency. Ask them politely if they really need to be in the spot in line for a reason, and see who has a stronger urgency.
See what happened there? You waived off a potential threat of stress and chaos by focusing on the absurdity of anger arising from within you. All the while coming to a reasonable and respectable decision.
This is just an example one 1, of the many mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques.
As you read the information above, this might sound a little difficult for many to grasp. Especially considering different situations everybody is facing in their own personal lives.
There are quite a few stress reduction programs being offered around or near where you live. For some, this may be the easiest way to learn.
However, there are also a bunch of mindful meditation courses you can join online. Most have step by step guides, along with a lot of other people in a forum type setting so it will not feel like you are alone.
Honestly, I prefer looking for lifelong courses. Because to me, this isn’t just an 8-week journey… This is a lifetime journey of self-exploration and growth.
Are you ready to make a change TODAY?
Did all of the things above bring your attention to some ongoing issue with your life or for someone you know? Good!! That’s just the beginning of your self-awareness…
This is the first stage of mindfulness where you realize what really is costing you mental peace. And, if it’s really worth investing your health for.
Now that you have become more self-aware and know your stressors… It’s time to change them!!
Don’t fight it alone!!
What do you think about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction? Are you a believer in the practice or a skeptic? I would love to hear any and all of your thoughts!
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“The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.”
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh