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My Meditative Moments

Stress Hearty II…

by meditative - March 15th, 2010.
Filed under: Introductory Readings.

Stress resilience through the comfort of wisdom, inner trust & being whole.

How do we consciously cultivate the stress response in daily life? The same way we cultivate mindfulness in the formal meditation practice that is moment by moment- grounding ourselves in our body and in our breathing. When your buttons are pushed or you find yourself being stressed- you might try bringing your awareness to your face and shoulders as they tense up- to your heart beginning to pound- to your stomach beginning to feel funny- or to whatever you might notice about how your body feels at that moment. See if you can be aware of your feelings at that moment- the anger, fear, or hurt, etc.- as you feel them rise up inside of you. At this moment… you might even try saying to yourself…“Wake up & stay centered”. Use your breath as an anchor to help ride the upswelling wave of emotion.

Mindfulness sets the stage for you to respond appropriately right here in the moment. The place to start is with your breathing. If you can manage to bring your attention to your breathing for even the briefest moment, it will set the stage for facing that moment and the next one mindfully. The breath reconnects you with calmness and awareness when you lose touch momentarily. It brings you to an awareness of your body in that moment including any increase in muscle tension. It can also remind you to check your thoughts and feelings. Perhaps you will see how reactive they are. Perhaps you will question their accuracy…

As relaxation and peace of mind become more familiar to you through the formal meditation practice, it becomes easier to call upon them when you need them.When you are stressed, you can allow yourself to ride the waves of the stress.You will neither have to shut it off or run away. You still may be going up and down some emotionally, but much less than if you were always at the mercy of your own automatic reactivity.

Greater resilience in the face of stressors and reduced stress reactivity are characteristic of people who practice meditation regularly. However, the fact that you can learn to respond to stress with awareness does not mean that you will never react anymore, or that you will not sometimes be overwhelmed by emotions such as anger, grief, or fear, etc. We are not trying to suppress our emotions when we respond to stress rather we are learning how to work with all our reactions emotional and physical so that we may be less controlled by them and see more clearly what we should do and how we might respond effectively.

When you cultivate mindfulness in your life your ability to be fully present can come through even under the most trying of circumstances. It will cradle and embrace the stress itself. Sometimes this will reduce your pain and sometimes it may not, but awareness brings comfort of a certain kind even in the midst of suffering. We could call it the comfort of wisdom and inner trust the comfort of being whole…

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