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More Than Mindfulness #4: How can Mindfulness help me deal with stress?

This week, we talk about how mindfulness can help us deal with stress. Mindfulness is, in fact, at the cutting edge of stress management. From Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction to the Wim Hof method, the benefits of strategies that reconnect us to our bodies and train our minds are so powerful and clearly documented, that they have created great interest in the scientific community.

At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we provide a structure to help people establish and commit to a Daily Practice of simple mindfulness tools and meditation. This consistent practice creates muscle memory that can actually transform the way we move through life. One of the biggest shifts you will see if you commit to such a practice is a huge improvement in the way y9u are able to manage stress.

In order to work effectively with stress, we have to understand where it comes from. You might consider how you experience stress? Let’s return to the four aspects of self: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Physical: Where do you feel stress in your body? What parts of your physical body often feel tight, or experience chronic pain?

Emotional: How does stress manifest in your emotional self? What emotions typically arise when you find yourself in a stressful situation?

Mental: Let’s pause here–because I am going to suggest that THIS part of you is the birthplace of your stress.

This week, let’s try an experiment: any time you feel stress, you might try to trace it back to the thoughts that created the stress. Were you focusing on the past? The future? Were you obsessing about a problem? Comparing yourself to somebody else? Were you believing that life was supposed to be another way?

You might observe yourself, and watch how these types of thought patterns create physical responses or tightening in the body. You might observe how your emotions build and respond to these types of thoughts with unhelpful, protective, or distracting emotional reactions that somehow help you cope with the stress of your fearful thinking.

Through mindfulness, we learn to re-train the mind to rest in the spiritual self, which we can find in the present moment, through the body. We use anchors of breath, contact points, and the aliveness of the inner body to redirect our awareness and find what can seem so elusive in this fast-paced, modern world.

We find rest.

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