Resolving Stress From the Inside-Out
In this guided meditation you will use guided imagery to mentally shift your conscious focus away from your more reactive primitive brain into your more evolved frontal cortex. Your mind has the power to affect the chemical composition of your brain and body in the same way that your brain and body have the power to affect what thoughts and feelings flow through your conscious mind.
This guided meditation is designed to empower your everyday conscious experience. You will gain insights as to how to direct your thoughts inward – even for a few moments each day, in order to relax your reactive primitive brain and regulate the chemical messengers associated with stress.
Stress is your body’s response to pressures or demands that threaten your feeling of well-being. You feel stressed when the demands on you outweigh your ability to cope with a situation. Stress is a normal response to situations where we perceive a threat or danger. You can probably cope with a few minor changes in your daily schedule such as running a few minutes late or forgetting something at the grocery store, but when too many things pile up or go wrong, the scale is tipped and you can become overwhelmed and ‘stressed-out’.
Situations that normally cause people stress can include negative events such as financial problems, relationship breakups, difficulties at work or school, injury, illness or loss of a loved one. However, even positive situations can lead to stress – things like a work promotion, getting married or buying a house.
Stress was a necessary part of our evolution. We needed our bodies to kick into high gear and get us out of danger. When you sense fear, your body makes internal adjustments to help you survive. This is known as the fight or flight response. The fight or flight response triggers a series of internal events that is controlled by two very important hormones called adrenaline and cortisol. These are known as your stress hormones. It’s these hormones that cause your heart to beat faster to get more blood to your muscles – increase your blood pressure – move blood away from your digestive system and into your muscles so that you can run more efficiently. These hormones also cause your airways to open up so that you get more oxygen and suppress your immune system to save energy.
If you pay attention to the news, it’s hard to not agree that we live in crazy and sometimes dangerous times. Everyday something bad happens somewhere. Now, in reality most of us are not really being directly exposed to any immediate danger, but your primitive limbic system doesn’t know this. It just reacts to what your senses perceive from the images and sounds that you hear on the news, often resulting in stressful thoughts. Remember stressors aren’t just the things you’re doing – they’re the things you’re thinking about too. If you are constantly thinking stressful thoughts, such as not enough money to pay the bills, not enough time to finish the report that’s due tomorrow, you need to do the grocery shopping – and on and on – your body’s reaction is the same – you are in a fight or flight response!
Your fight or flight response is your body’s emergency response and it’s only intended to last for a short period of time. When you keep your stress response going – when your stress is out of control – your body keeps producing stress hormones. These hormones keep your heart rate and your blood pressure high. They also cause your immune system to become less effective, which makes it easier for you to get sick.
Because we cannot always avoid stressful situations, learning strategies to cope with the stress is important. Science has proven the benefits of meditation for improving your health, productivity, stress control and overall well-being. Using this meditation regularly will be a helpful coping tool for reducing your stress.