Reflective sitting and walking meditations can give relief from the debilitating effects of stress. We usually think of stress as a negative, and stress allowed to build up till we are overwhelmed at home, or at work takes us out of harmony.
If we learn to read the signs of stress in ourselves as it builds up, we can then take the steps to de-stress. Built up stress affects our body and mind. Medical science tells us stress can cause headaches, stomach aches, ulcers, hypertension, heart disease, strokes, and the inability to perform even routine tasks effectively.
Our thinking may become illogical. When we are on overdrive we cut out the normal sequence of analyzing events as they are happening. We instead become reactionary. Recognizing these signs in ourselves, or by someone else telling us what they see happening to us, is the first step in de-stressing.
I help myself de-stress and recover my peace and harmony by taking a long walking meditation or sitting quietly in meditation and reflecting on these points:
1. Pin-point the problem that I am reacting to stressfully;
2. Write out the stressful situation, and then analyze which parts are stressful for me to deal with;
3. Write out and act on a plan of action that logically resolves the situation that led to my being overwhelmed and overstressed.
This little sequence sometimes takes days or weeks to work through. The deeper the effects of stress, the longer it takes to make the changes that are necessary to become permanent. Concerted effort makes change effective over the long run.
But, feeling a little bit of stress gets us motivated to adapt and change. It is in feeling stress that we take action for change. The problem comes when we do not recognize or make the little changes as we go along. Stress then mounts and mounts, becoming insurmountable.
For myself, when I feel a headache coming on, or lose my appetite, or feel lethargic, I know that something is affecting me stressfully. I then take that long walking meditation, thinking about all the possible situations in my life that could be causing me to feel overwhelmed. Headache, loss of appetite, and feeling lethargic are my early warning signals that it is time to take action for change.
In summary, stress relief is relieving ourselves of the conditions causing us to feel overwhelmed and out of control. And stress relief can be brought about through starting with the plan outlined above: 1. pinpointing the problem; 2. analyzing to determining a better course of action; 3. putting out the effort for change. Then, remembering at the early signs of stress to adapt to the changes needed to keep from becoming overwhelmed.
"Stress can be our pal
When feelings in our body and mind
Let us know
We need to make positive changes
In our lives."
Conquering Stress and Anger
Series of 34 topics with meditations for teens and adults to understand more about anger's grip and reclaim inner peace, and 5 practical topics for kids to get beyond anger - all from a spiritual point of view! 54 pages. 10,000 words.
Article by Susan Helene Kramer
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Disclaimer: This article is written from a spiritual point of view. For mental health issues consult a licensed therapist.