Would you like to reduce your stress? Very few people would say no to that offer! But what exactly does it mean?
We all have a sense of how stress manifests in our personal life and what we want to change. Many people would say they are looking for relief from the worries that plague them, while others might point to their stiff neck or tight jaw, or mention their headaches. However we experience it personally, stress impacts both our minds and bodies. It is a state of hyper-arousal where our minds and bodies are on alert, our adrenaline is flowing, and we feel a need to do something to protect ourselves.
What are some of the effects of stress?
In an aroused state, your body produces an adrenaline rush that increases your heart rate, elevates your respiration, tenses your muscles, and changes your blood flow. While this might be just what you need to complete a task or escape a dangerous situation, it might be not be a useful reaction to the current situation and could be counter-productive.
Under stress, you might find your thoughts racing in cycles you can’t escape. You might feel restless and anxious, unable to concentrate. You might become irritable, impulsive, angry, or aggressive. Over time, you might experience insomnia, reduced pain tolerance, and hyper-vigilance.
So it is helpful to know how to shift out of this aroused state to a relaxed state where your mind and body are at rest. Practicing mindfulness can provide that shift.