Our minds and bodies are talking to us all the time; they tell us when we are stressed, or upset, or unhappy with a situation. By listening to our body’s reactions to a situation we can control how we react to it, the problem is, most of us don’t listen. But, it is possible, through a technique called Mindfulness to be more aware of our bodies and our feelings throughout the day and therefore control the thoughts and actions that lead to stress.
Stressful situations arise all the time and most people assume it is a particular event causing us to feel stressed while in fact it is because we feel we have no control over the situation. These situations and our reactions to them occur so often they have basically become habit. We don’t realize we are tensing our shoulders or grinding our teeth until our bodies become too pained to ignore. Our reactions to stress become as out of control as the situation.
One thing we can have control over is our thoughts. So, to avoid habitual stress, and to become more in control of our thoughts, feelings, and reactions, we must begin to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Being mindful simply requires taking some time to become aware of what is going on around us at any given moment. Not trying to change or control a situation, but simply concentrating on what is happening and the feelings or thoughts you are experiencing.
Being mindful, without trying to control or change, can take some practice. Try this; if you are feeling particularly stressed or out of sorts, stop what you are doing and focus on your thoughts; what were you thinking about that caused you to feel like this? Take a moment to clear your head and concentrate on the here and now, not the future or what needs to be done.
Practice this habit throughout your day. Before you go into a meeting take a few deep breaths and don’t focus on anything else except those breaths. While sitting at your desk, focus on the task at hand instead of what you need to do later. Use all five senses to be totally aware of the present moment and what your thoughts are doing to your body. Once you are aware of your thoughts, you can begin to control them. Using this control you can change how you perceive a situation and what it does to your body.
Don’t let stress control you and your body; take back that control by simply being mindful.