Emotional stress a chain reaction to breakdown

Emotional stress normally begins when any stimulus that is perceived to be a significant threat to one’s well-being, safety and appears to be outside one’s control.

This catalyses a chain reaction especially if one believes the stimulus (stressor) is more important than it actually is and coupled with the belief that its one’s own fault.

The perceived “loss of control” acts as the fuel to this chain reaction, which, in itself becomes yet another stressor, increasing more emotional stress such that the feedback on itself escalates emotional stress until system failure and breakdown.

The keys components that trigger the emotional stress chain reaction are:

• Stressor in the form of any stimulus .e.g demand to meet an “important” work deadline

• Perception that the stressor (stimulus) is a threat. e.g. I m going to be in “trouble” if I don’t meet deadline

• Time constraint, something outside ones control . e.g belief that one doesn’t have enough time

• Blaming oneself e.g I should have started earlier

Stress first arises at the perception to the demand, escalating with the belief that it needs to be fulfilled within a time constraint which is beyond own control. Although such stress when in short bursts can be motivational and productive, sustained stress over a longer period of time will inevitably lead to physical and psychological illness .

Meditation enables us to become aware of the present moment by focusing on an anchor such as breath, sound or sensation. By learning to do this we quickly become aware of our thoughts, which generally tend to draw our attention away from our point of focus, our awareness fuses with our thoughts or emotions. When we discover that our minds have wandered, we simply and gently return to the anchor for focusing our awareness.

Mindfulness in this way helps us detach our awareness from the fusion with thoughts or emotions, thereby helping “short circuit” the emotional stress chain reaction.

Mindfulness meditation has been used over several thousand years, with excellent results in developing healthy minds and emotions. “Mental Health Foundation and NICE are now recommending mindfulness for treating anxiety and depression, rather than drugs as its more effective and non-toxic” says Dav Panesar, teacher of mindfulness and other Eastern psychotherapeutic techniques.

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Mindfulness (by Dav Panesar)

Symran (by Dav Panesar)