By Subramani Sarode
Meditation Coach coach
09 February 2021
We all undergo stress, experience stress, speak about stress and also suffer from stress!
What is this Stress? Is it good or bad? What is stress management?
In simple terms stress is anything that causes imbalance in the functioning of our body and mind! And immediate sign of stress is feeling troubled and threatened by people/place/situations!
Stress, actually is a survival technique designed by the body and mind combination.
In the pre-civilisation era, when humans were nomads, they had to encounter constant danger to their survival from the environment.
So, in order to have fight or flight reaction in an instant, body/mind has to undergo drastic changes in terms of their functioning!
Once the danger is avoided, body used to find its own dynamic balance state.
Coming back to the present era, we do not face such harsh conditions. However, whenever the body/mind perceives danger, it goes into over drive mode. Most of the time danger is perceived by mind and the usual reaction of fight/flight cannot be the same as pre-civilisation era.
(A simple example could be reading / watching about corona related article!)
Let’s see some more reasons that cause stress in us!
1. Ever growing ‘to do’ list and approaching dead lines
2. Coping up with health issues
3. Family matters ( balancing the demands of time between spouse, children, parents, siblings..)
4. Career related matters ( job satisfaction, career progression, managing colleagues / organisation expectations)
5. Environment (pollution, traffic, weather conditions)
6. Defining our value systems and living accordingly ( As a parent, as a professional, etc)
7. Thoughts about physical/emotional/social/financial security
Look ! none of the above reasons require us to fight or run away from people/family/work place! However, the danger perceived by mind will give rise to hormonal changes and causes imbalance in the functioning of body which again turn into cause for further stress!
This imbalance is causing overstress and this over stress is the cause of all ailments! The tell-tale signs of over stress are head ache, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, feeling heaviness in chest area, lump in the throat, tightening of muscles, skin rashes and upset stomach!
If proper and immediate care is not taken, we develop BP, diabetes, insomnia, digestive system problems, burn outs, depression and anxiety attacks.
Overstress also causes behavioural changes. So it is important to be aware of these signs also;
When we are over stressed we tend to get into the either of the following extremes;
1. Sleep disorder, not able to get good sleep; sometimes even with the help of medication.
Just love to sleep, lying in the bed most of the time!
2. Loss of appetite
Binge eating, craving to eat all the time. It includes consumption of alcohol and smoking.
3. We may stop interacting specially through speech with others, and most of the time communication will be in monosyllables like yes, no, ok, fine, bye without the accompanying emotions!
Keep talking and talking and it mostly comprises of blaming and arguments. It may be in the form of self-talk also.
4. We tend to become more aggressive on every issue while speaking as well as sharing opinions on social media !
Just we go into shell and avoid all social contact but may rely more on surfing the social media aimlessly!
The simple test of being in overstress is loss of zeal towards living life and mechanically going through daily routines!
We all want to live a happy life, a life that is enjoyable in spite of the challenges that we face! Stress management and rejuvenation techniques will help us to achieve that!
That means we need a system to manage our stress! Because some amount of stress is desirable to be actively and creatively engaging in out day to day life, to progress in our career/family /social fronts. However, care to be taken not to raise stress levels unnecessarily.
This calls for being aware of our self, and Meditation is being in awareness.
Meditation is the basis of all techniques of stress management.
However, there are lots of myths surrounding meditation and we tend to avoid this method!
Let’s understand what true meditation is, experience meditation and use it for stress management and rejuvenation on the go!
First let’s understand the difference between - Doing Meditation and Being in Meditation.
In my workshops and meditation coaching sessions, practically everyone agrees to the statement that meditation is the basis of overall wellbeing.
However, when I ask, how many of you are doing meditation regularly, very few answer in the affirmative!
This is because most of us approach Meditation from the Doing dimension whereas Meditation is of Being dimension!
When we want to do meditation, the mind comes up and says there is no time! That’s true right? We are always running short of time! Then if you find time somehow, the mind starts finding fault with the place saying hey, there is no proper place to meditate!
Even, when we manage to find time and place, the mind pops up saying currently the situation is not conducive to do meditation – with the result not doing meditation at all!
However, once we understand being in meditation, we will have freedom to meditate any time, at any place and in any situation!
Isn’t it wonderful, that we can de-stress and rejuvenate any time by being in meditation?
Are you now ready to get a wonderful, easy and yet very powerful way of being in meditation?
Now, get ready to experience the wonderful way to be in meditation!
Generally, when we sit for meditation we are bombarded with thoughts from all around and hence unable to meditate peacefully. I am sure, you also encountered such situations!
So now is the time to get a glimpse of being in meditation and thereby deepening the experience with practice!
Read the following lines in italics and then do it yourself!
Be seated comfortably and close your eyes! Thoughts may pop up in your mind. That’s fine.
Now, just put a question to your self – What is my next thought? And wait for the thought….
Then you may get into the stream of thoughts, doesn’t matter. Again, put a question to yourself – what is my next thought? And wait for the thought!....
Do it one more time – ask yourself what is my next thought and wait for the thought!......
What an experience, right?
When you invited the thoughts, there was no thought! There was a pause before a thought popped out! In that pause, you felt calm, peacefulness and it was relaxing!
That pause, the nothingness is the space of awareness. It is being in meditation!
The space of nothingness that you experienced is a space of pure awareness and that is being in meditation. Though our true identity is ONE and through which we are all connected to each other, we are seeing different identities like me, you, that person and this person! This is because we derive our representative identity through the combination of our body, sensory perceptions, thoughts and emotions.
To put it in simple words, we derive our personality through our body, our sensory perceptions, the thoughts we harbour and emotions we experience!
The good news is – we have access to our body, senses, thoughts and emotions 24/7. So being aware of them, practically we can be in meditation any time, at any place and in any situation!
When we become aware of body through sensations, we take care of body with proper food, appropriate exercise and we grow in health effortlessly!
When we become aware of our senses, we are in a high alert state and perceive the world around us in right way!
When we are aware of our thoughts, we understand that most of them are to be discarded and few remaining are to be acted upon! This leads to time management as well as effective decision making!
When we are aware of emotions, we use them judiciously instead of being used up by them!
And the beauty is – body, senses, thoughts and emotions are all interconnected. So being aware of one of them, leads to being aware of our representative identity and through that we remember our true identity!
Therefore, being in meditation is being active, creative and developing zeal towards life. And it can be learnt and practiced very easily if proper facilitation is done!
This is the way to de-stress and rejuvenate on the go!
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