Americans in this day and age have a love affair with being busy which has led to chronic stress. This stress inside of us creates the perfect environment for disease to thrive.
Our culture values busyness. Ever enter into a casual conversation with someone you're running into? It's likely that one of you will boast about 'how busy you've been' or 'how crazy life has been'. So many of us are busy and stressed out that it's become the social norm.
What would it be like to answer the question 'how have you been?' differently? You run into an acquaintance or old friend and instead of answering how busy you've been, being able to say, "I've been at peace and relaxed. I've spent a lot of my free time journaling and getting my workouts in. I honestly feel great."
It is possible to have a completely different answer to this question. Will your friend give you a strange look? It's very possible. But having inner peace and your health is more valuable than their opinion of you. And if they're a kindred-spirit-kind-of-friend, they'll love you anyway.
Do you live your life in a constant state of fight or flight? Is it difficult to find serenity and peace during the day? Are you a victim of allowing situations to control your emotional state of being?
Being in this overworked, constant state of being 'on' all of the time is the American norm. Rest isn't valued and the result is our health and well being take a backseat. The nervous system is recurrently in the sympathetic state drowning in cortisol, always ready to attack or run, never resting and healing.
If we never give ourselves the space to enter into "rest and digest" mode of the parasympathetic nervous system, we won't have any resilience to stress.
Mindfulness and Stress Resilience
There are a lot of buzz words surrounding this topic. Mindfulness. Being Grounded. Awareness. Meditation. For some, these words calm, but in others create resistance because they often have stigmas attached to them. Mindfulness is more than a buzzword, it's a movement because not only do people find it extremely effective for stress reduction and improving many diseases and conditions, but there many studies recording such results.
The reason it’s so effective is because it activates the healing parasympathetic state of our nervous system, which is the only state healing can happen. Mindfulness is a state of mind of simply being aware or becoming the observer of your body, thoughts, and feelings in the present moment. That’s it. The result of mindfulness is an increased resilience to stress.
Resistance to the present moment, not accepting the situation, and/or not removing yourself from a situation creates stress. I'm paraphrasing Eckhart Tolle here, which I've found to be an utterly true and amazingly life changing concept.
Activities that promote mindfulness: mindful walking, yoga, qigong, breathing techniques, ANY type of meditation, spending time in nature, mindfully washing the dishes, being in flow in a creative or playful activity.
Do this and you'll be able to change your answer of "I've been so busy" to "I have more energy and feel more present for my family."
How do you add mindfulness to your life?
To your health and healing,
Mandi Palmer, Health and Wellness Coach