Stress that is harmful can cause physical, mental, and emotional aches and pains. It can cause your body and mind to overreact to situations, resulting in digestive problems, weight fluctuation, heart disease, depression, and a host of other issues.
By being mindful and using yoga and meditation, you will find yourself creating more relaxation responses rather than stressful reactions. With the combination of yoga and meditation, you learn to slow down the mind and create relaxation for the body.
To be mindful is quite simply paying full, whole-hearted attention. When you do meditation it involves paying full attention to the breath as it flows in and out of the body. Focusing on each breath allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them. You come to the profound understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and ultimately, you have a choice about whether to act on them.
Mindfulness is about observation without criticism and being compassionate with yourself. With unhappiness or with stress, rather than taking it personally, treat it as if it was a dark cloud in the sky, observing it with friendly curiosity as it drifts past.
Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability. When these negative thoughts arise, they dissolve again more easily. Those who regularly meditate see their doctors less often and are generally healthier. Memory improves, creativity increases and reaction times become faster.
No matter how powerless you may feel in the face of stress, you still have control over your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions and the way you deal with problems. Managing stress involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can’t, taking care of yourself, and making time for yoga, meditation, rest and relaxation.