Negative events are a part of daily life and stress is a response to those adverse situations. Mindfulness does not take away stressful circumstances that arise; it simply allows you to determine if it’s a valid concern that requires your attention and the ability to better handle those important issues. Mindfulness allows us to relax and enter a state of evaluation instead of action in order to lead a happier, more focused and tranquil life.
How Does Mindfulness Reduce Stress
Is It Really a Problem?
Stress and negativity can often be cyclical, one stressor and negative thought feeds into the next until it overwhelms the person. Preventing this cycle in the first place, at least with many of the minuscule daily stressors that often don’t really require our attention, can put us in a better place to deal with those that do. Mindfulness allows you to become more aware of your thoughts and therefore, the space to figure out where you need to focus your energy. Often we are running around from activity to activity, stress building up inside us from all the pressures and new responsibilities we accumulate throughout the day and we don’t have the time to evaluate our true problems. So mindfulness, simply put, allows you to first answer the question, “Is it really a problem?”. Those that aren’t shouldn’t take up any space in your mind and that clarity can instantly provide dramatic relief.
Addressing Your Real Problems
Once you’ve weeded out all the unnecessary “problems”, you can then focus on and address your real problems with mindfulness. Just as mindfulness provides focus and clarity to determine what problems need your energy, this same concentration (and contemplation) can help you determine solutions to the real problems you need to address. Our brain has the ability to change and adapt (brain plasticity) throughout our lifetime and through mindfulness techniques, we provide ourselves with more emotional intelligence and mental resources to be more equipped to handle stressful situations. Mindfulness allows you to see stress towards legitimate problems as something positive as it is a mechanism to help get your mind energized to find a solution.
A mind that has been trained in mindfulness can step back and decide not to react so that your stress response is not event initiated in the first place. When someone insults you or you see a past due bill laying on your desk, someone who practices mindfulness doesn’t immediately react to either situation. Instead, you pause and decide the best approach. For instance, with the example of someone insulting you; while many people may instantly want to respond with their own insult, mindfulness allows you to have compassion for the other person (and the reasoning behind their anger) which inhibits your stress response. You are more sensitive to the actions of others, even if those actions negatively impact you. You are also aware that they are fleeting moments and they don’t need to detract from the quality of your life.