Stress and anxiety are emotions that most of us experience just about every day. You can try and run, you can try to hide but soon enough you will face whatever you are running from again and again until you have enough courage to overcome it.
In my life, there have been hundreds of times when I’ve been stuck in a vicious cycle of negative thoughts of anxiety and stress. Whether it’s car issues, the death of a loved one, an increase in financial obligations, or even getting up enough courage to speak up at a meeting— stress, disappointment and adversity can derive from almost any human daily experience.
Life is an up and down rollercoaster but does it have to be? Is there a state of homeostasis that one can achieve to avoid the downs of emotions like pain, stress, and fear? We’ve all heard the saying before; “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it,” but what does this mean? How can one truly see the value in this statement let alone apply it to their lives during times of adversity when it really counts?
From my experience, it first starts with knowing yourself and understanding and being comfortable with your own emotions. In the Netflix series titled “The Mind, Explained” one episode highlights the importance of mindfulness. In the episode, scientists begin to study the brain of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk, with over 62,000 lifetime meditation hours. When researchers looked into his brain, they found that although he was 41 years old he had the mind of a 33-year-old.
As Mingyur was growing up, he suffered from panic attacks and his dad told him “don’t fight with the panic. You have to say welcome to panic.” Mingyur started to realize that he couldn’t run away from his panic attacks so he started welcoming this uncomfortable experience into his life. Mingyur explains that his relationship with anxiety and panic attacks virtually change because he no longer fights the emotion anymore, he welcomes it. As Mingyur began to practice mindfulness more and more he became enlightened and developed an increase sense of endless patience and calmness no matter what life might bring.
Scientists confirmed meditation can cure depression; control anxiety; ease stress; increase pain tolerance; lengthen attention span; reduce age-related memory loss; and generate more positive feelings and actions towards oneself and others. There is no question that mediation clearly proves its value when combating stress and adversity but what can the average hard working, men and women do to strengthen their mind and to overcome adversity easier?
Most of us don’t have 62,000 hours in our busy lives to meditate like Mingyur. Here are three tips I have applied in my life:
- Find 15 minutes of quiet time and space to meditate daily— Meditation is usually the first thing I do when I wake up. This allows me to set my intentions for the day and create a sense of calmness that seems to carry over to the rest of my daily activities. No phone, no television and absolutely no social media. You can use apps like Calm or Headspace to guide you if it’s your first time.
- Write down the things you are grateful for— What you appreciate— appreciates! Take five minutes each day and write down all the things you are grateful for. It may be difficult at first but soon your perspective will change about the things that you think are “missing” in your life. As you continue this exercise, you will train your brain to be more patient and comfortable in the present. When you focus on scarcity or lack in your life, that’s all you will experience. If you want abundance and prosperity, then you must tune your focus towards abundance and prosperity.
- Keep good energy around you— Pay close attention to whom you associate yourself with— friends, family and colleagues. Have you ever been around someone who is always angry or negative and you then begin to experience those same feelings? We are the average of the five people we surround ourselves with. Humans who engage with each other exchange energy and thoughts, both positive and negative. Stay around people who uplift you, get you excited about life, and make you feel good. Your circle will significantly influence your emotions, how you think and how you combat adversity.
Positively Caviar, Inc. (PCI) is a grassroots nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focused on instilling mental resilience by way of positive thinking and optimism. PCI relies on positive digital media, high-intensity speaking engagements, and their signature B.U.I.L.D. Self-Empowerment workshops to amplify their audiences’ minds towards a resilient and purposeful life. Each month, a member of their Nucleus Team will feature a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a positive and healthy lifestyle.
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