Wisdom in Living

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mindfulness to Cope with Stress

Mindfulness to Cope with Stress

Stress is one of the underlying causes of autoimmune diseases because stress may cause a dysfunctional immune system.

Stress may come in many forms, and one of which is pain. Whether physical or emotional, pain is stressful. Somehow, we cope with that stress. Humans learn how to deal with, for example, the pain of loss by staying busy, such as busily planning a memorial service for the death of a loved one. As a matter of fact, we all learn at an early age that being busy is one of the ways to deal with stress.

Getting busy has immediate payoff in that it takes one’s attention from the stress. In life, many of us use the same strategy of getting busy to deal with difficulties in our lives: we keep ourselves busy to avoid unpleasant or difficult experiences. For example, we keep ourselves busy to earn more money, to gain more respect, or both, because we may have an unfulfilled love relationship. We often get busier and busier until it has become addictive. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, everything falls apart, and we become distressed and disillusioned. So, getting busy is but a temporary solution to stress.

Be mindful of your business. Mindfulness requires you to take time to explore your inner self—that is, what is the most important to you, or your core values in life. You can be busy, while maintaining your mindfulness.

A Buddhist teacher once said: "When you are washing dishes, wash dishes. When you are talking on the phone, talk on the phone." But many people are talking on the phone, while driving! That, unfortunately, is not mindfulness.

Mindfulness is "concentrated" relaxation because your mind focuses only on the present moment, not the past, and not the future. Remember, only the present is real to you. Mindfulness is what meditation is all about. Meditation focuses on mindfulness of the present moment to relax both the body and the mind.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © 2018 by Stephen Lau

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