Stress is inevitable, it’s unavoidable and while a certain amount of it is a good thing (it helps us to prepare for an interview or get an application in on time), chronic or long term stress is not a good thing. The adrenaline and cortisol that is produced in the body contributes to every physical and mental ailment in the world today.
According to Yale medicine, chronic stress is described as: A consistent sense of feeling pressured and overwhelmed over a long period of time
The most typical responses I get are “Yes, but I will relax when I go on holiday, or when I get this promotion, or when my boss leaves” but what we are doing is postponing our happiness in the hope or expectation that something will change. You know from the past how one stress will be replaced with another.
Mary (**name changed) booked an appointment and when we turned up she told me how she was overwhelmed with life but, she was quick to add, she was very grateful for her children, husband and her life. She didn’t want to sound like she was moaning. Mary was on the go from 7am to 8pm with little to no time for herself. No sooner had she completed one task than the next was looming, and when she did get a chance to sit down with a cup of tea, the phone went off – it was invariably her elderly aunt or mother looking for something from her. She had a happy marriage and her kids were healthy but Mary was flailing under a sea of anxiety and stress. She started not being able to sleep at night, she was biting her nails again (something she hadn’t done in years) and she was snapping at the kids and then instantly feeling guilty.
“I should be better at this” Mary was very hard on herself but could see no way out. “When the kids are on holidays that will be better” or “when John gets off work he can help me, I just need to get to the weekend”
But her happiness was consistently out of reach, waiting for the next break and the next weekend until soon, months later she’s sitting in front of me exhaustion, emotional and at breaking point.
You don’t have to wait to be free. You don’t need to postpone being happy.
This famous quote by Jack Kornfield is one of the core teachings of mindfulness. It’s not about waiting until circumstances are perfect or even better before you can be happy. it’s not about waiting for anything, because there will never be the ideal time or ideal set of circumstances.
If Nelson Mandela can achieve this while being in prison for 27 years then we can.
So start today, not tomorrow or next week or when things are better- start now! And I want to help you to do that by making small, simple and consistent changes in your life. I have created a PDF with 5 simple tools for you and I’ve included a mindfulness meditation for you to use below. These two together will significantly improve your feelings of being calm, in control and happy so that you can meet the challenges in your life with poise, grace and ease.
Mindfulness Meditation practice: Setup:
- Sit upright in a chair . If possible, bring your back a little way from the rear of the chair so that your spine is self-supporting. Your feet can be flat on the floor.
- You mind will most probably wander and if it does bring it back to your breath resisting any urge to criticise yourself. This is central to the practice of mindfulness.
- Press play and close your eyes or lower your gaze.
- Breathe and follow my guidance as best you can.
Listening to this once a week will be very helpful but if you really want to reduce your stress levels, then I recommend listening more often.
And if you’d like to access more of my mindfulness practices you can avail of the mindfulness online library: a comprehensive listing of simple, practical mindfulness meditations and teachings for every day.
Thank you for doing something meaningful for yourself today,