Updated: Sep 6, 2018
What is stress?
Stress is of course unavoidable, and the point of stress reduction and stress management programs is not to eliminate stress from our lives entirely. Life is always going to be full of challenges, and a life without some turmoil is not only impossible but is also undesirable. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic and alert. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. It’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration or drives you to study for an exam. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.
We all know that mindfulness and meditation are increasingly taught as ways of coping with stressful situations. One of the most common reasons that people want to learn meditation is to reduce stress. Science is showing that meditation is very deserving of its newfound fame and research proves that meditation practice has an amazing variety of neurological benefits. Regular meditation and relaxation can be of significant help in reducing stress to manageable and healthy levels.
Meditation, however, not only involves relaxation but promotes mindfulness, which helps the stress-sufferer to recognize unhelpful patterns of thought that give rise to the stress response. Meditation is a daily tool to maintain the strength and focus of the mind. Meditation facilitates the mind to develop the ability to quieten and this quiet calm state of mind enables us to cope with all of life’s experiences.