Have you ever found yourself sitting amongst the clutter in your office, ready to pull out your hair as you fret over three impending deadlines and realize that your coffee cup is empty – again – and you have to walk allllll the way across the room to refill it – or something like that? That sounds like stress, and stress has a tendency to get overwhelming.
We all get bogged down by stressful situations, be it the horrific office scenario described above, or even something more mundane, like sitting in traffic and watching the numbers on the clock move forward as your car, sadly, does not. Stress is a part of every day life, and just like that car stuck in traffic, it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. But luckily, there are plenty of ways to make sure stress only affects you in stressful situations and doesn’t ruin the rest of your day. In fact, practices like mindful meditation can help keep stress out of non-stressful situations and can even help make stressful situations seem somehow more manageable.
Stress is an emotional response to a situation that can have a negative affect on both the body and spirit. What many people don’t realize about emotions is that they have both psychological and physical affects, so when you’re stressed, you not only feel bad in your head, but you might actually get a headache, for example. Mindful meditation has one huge benefit of focusing the mind enough to allow you to become aware of the relationship between your body and mind. It allows you to refocus energy and defuse tension. Eventually, by practicing mindful meditation, you can learn how to reduce stress altogether instead of just defusing it. You can learn how to foster happiness, instead of reduce unhappiness.
Just like stress, happiness is both a physical and psychological emotion. Happiness physically stems from the prefrontal cortex of your brain, but it’s more than just a biological response to external stimuli. Happiness is the presence of positivity, the presence of calm, the presence of understanding. Mindful meditation helps you learn how to perceive happiness as a presence of positive emotions, rather than just an absence of negative ones. For example, happy people view problems as challenges with a solution, whereas unhappy people view problems as disturbances without reason. Mindful meditation helps people cultivate the former view.
Stress and negativity are inevitable parts of life, but with a healthy outlet, they are not only manageable – they can be conquerable! Even this country’s Founding Fathers were stressed, and thought stress reduction was so important that they wrote it into the Constitution: we have the right to pursue happiness. The question we all have to answer is how will we pursue that happiness? Will we wait for it to sneak up on us like a timid kitten testing out a new toy? Or will we go out there and catch it, and train our minds and bodies to accept positivity into our lifestyles? I know for sure what my answer is – I’ve got my happiness catching net right here, and I call it Mindful Meditation.