Stress, how has it become our second nature?

Today I had a thought after hearing a lyric from LTJ Bukem's Constellation, "life is not about stress, it's about living" which made me think about stress and why its around us all the time. This may be different for you, but for me, I can get so caught up in a stressful situation and all the negative thoughts that go along with it.

In yoga we are taught about how non-attachment frees the mind and today I feel I've come to truly understand this. If we remove the attachment to the situation or thought that our mind perceives as stressful, then that could mean we can effectively reduce the stress that we experience in our day to day lives.

So, how do we detach ourselves from what we perceive as stressful? The best way I have learnt to do this myself is remembering that I HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE MY THOUGHTS AND MY EXPERIENCE.

Buddha once said "what we think, we become". And that is so true. If we choose to think stressful thoughts then our mind will naturally perceive our experience as stressful and back this up by bringing past stressful experiences up (this happens in a split second). It's like a circuit - your past experience colours your present.

How do we get past all the negative mind chatter? Create some space.

Through meditation (which could be simply focusing on the breath, listening to a guided meditation or doing whatever meditation it means to you - mindful colouring or walking etc.) we find time to allow for more awareness of what thoughts we are having and where they come from. It's funny but as soon as you notice a thought, more often than not, that thought will disappear, leaving a space!

From my experience with doing this, with consistent practice it becomes easier to change the thoughts and to be able to choose new thinking patterns in our day to day lives.

I'm not here to preach or say this is easy because in truth it's not, we're all extremely busy but if you feel ready to give it a try, even for just a few minutes in the day I do believe from a personal understanding that the stress we feel will reduce. How awesome is that, potentially without having to go anywhere or buy anything or physically do anything YOU have the POWER to REDUCE YOUR STRESS.

Have you ever heard of the Maharishi Effect? This is the principle that individual consciousness effects the collective consciousness. In the 1970's there was research conducted where groups of meditators were sent out into towns and cities around the world that experienced a high amount of crime or conflicts. The results of the research showed that the crime rates reduced dramatically. By practicing meditation with the communities the ripple effect was felt by so many, not just the individual.

By taking just a few moments to focus on your breath, or whatever meditation technique relates best to you, you can not only feel so much better in yourself as an individual but you can have a positive effect on everyone you come into contact with and then everyone they come into contact with and so on.

If you're unsure of what meditation to try here's a breathing method and some links to get you started:

Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Take a deep inhale through your nose and a slow exhale through your mouth.

When you're ready, inhale for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4. Repeat this as many times as you like.

It's as simple as that. This is called Sama Vritti Pranayama which means 'Equal Breath'. This helps the breath, mind, body and energy to feel more balanced and reduces stress.

Here's some links to apps and web pages:

Sat Nam Mantra Meditation - 'Sat' means truth, 'Nam' means name. Together this mantra means "I am truth". Mantra meditations are an amazing way to draw your attention inwards and help to slow your thoughts and emotions. Try this one, it's mesmerising!

Here are a couple of apps I have personally used for guided meditations:

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