Despite having felt stress for as long as I can remember, stress management as a field of study, is still a relatively new concept.
It was not so long ago that people were too busy with work and enjoying life to think about stress management. And having mind therapy is perceived as something only those with mental problems will go through.
In the past, having anxiety or stress that is bad enough to require professional attention can create the impression that one is down with mental problems… crazy.
But as life became more and more stressful. And as people as a community start to attain the basic needs of life, mental health has become one of the needs that people pursue.
Origins of mindfulness
What better way to manage a new age problem using an old approach.
The origins to the concept of mindfulness can be traced back indirectly to classic religious text. Specifically Buddhism and Hinduism.
To attain enlightenment, followers had to arrive at a high level of awareness. And once of the qualifying factors to get to this awareness is mindfulness.
These days, even professionals practice mindful living in order to alleviate anxiety, manage stress, and tackle their worries.
And if mindfulness is practiced by the upper echelons of religion leadership, who are we to question whether there is a science behind it.
With sufferers of stress start to get positive response from mindfulness, it has now become an important module in any stress management workshop.
So what exactly makes up mindfulness?
In a nutshell, being mindful is about being present. Present in the moment. Evaluating things as they are without letting pre-judgment to cloud your thoughts.
In order to be mindful, the following factors are usually present:
- In the moment
- Not judging
The idea that mindfulness is great for stress management is due to the logic that most, if not all, sources of stress originate from a lack of awareness.
For example, the reason you got so hepped up over the lost of your iPhone was due to the fact that you were suffering a lack of awareness and misplaced it. The reason you are so nervous about the presentation tomorrow is because you did not pay attention to what your manager said he wanted in the presentation slides. And the reason why you don’t look forward to seeing someone is because you had judge him unfairly to be a boring person.
The gist is that when you are able to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routines and life in general, you are going to live a less stressful life.
Myths of mindfulness
In order to embrace the full impact of mindfulness. It is essential that you annihilate a few myths floating around trashing it.
It’s another fad
While the application of mindfulness on stress management seemed to just burst onto the scene and still in it’s youthful stage, it is not just a fad. Especially when qualified doctors and medical professionals have lent their weight in backing it.
It is just another word for relaxing
Getting into a relaxed state is one of the results of being mindful. And there are many other advantages that come with it.
It is just a fancy name for meditation
The key difference between mindfulness and meditating is that the latter is something you do alone, while the former is usually practiced for social and interaction reasons.
It’s basically just a form of positive thinking
This is not the case as mindfulness advocates non-reaction and indifference. This means that it is neither positive or negative. If anything, it’s neutral and objective.
It is too difficult to learn
Just like picking up every important skill in life, the beginning is the toughest. But with practice and commitment, it would be like second nature. Like riding a bike and swimming.
It’s more about religion
Nothing can be further from the truth. While it originated from religion, the idea behind it is not tied to any religion. And anyone can practice it without being influence by worship.
Is it right for you?
I can empathize if you feel that mindfulness just seem to odd a thing to practice. I felt the same way when I first learned about this idea and attempted to apply it.
But what I was after was the results.
If going through it can help calm down stress and anxiety, there’s really nothing to lose by just giving it a try. It has not just helped in areas of stress management, but I credit it for a more productive and resourceful me as well.
The biggest hurdle you might face is actually thinking that it is associated with some kind of cult or religion as previously stated.
This is not the case.
So if you find yourself often suffering from anxiety attacks or a stressed out mind, just give mindfulness a go for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. You can always cross it from your to-do list when you don’t experience positive results.