Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Today's mindfulness thought...

"By definition, stress reactions happen automatically and unconsciously.  As soon as you bring awareness to what is going on in a stressful situation, you have already changed that situation dramatically, just by virtue of not being unconscious and on automatic pilot anymore.  You are now fully present while the stressful event is unfolding.  And since you are an integral part of the whole situation, by increasing your level of awareness, you are actually changing the entire situation, even before you do anything.  This inner change can be extremely important because it gives you a range of options for influencing what will happen next.  Bringing awareness to such a moment only takes a split second but it can make a critical difference in the outcome of a stressful encounter.  In fact, it is the deciding factor in whether you go the path of the "stress reaction" or whether you can navigate over to the path of the "stress response."  pages 265-266

"...awareness is the critical element in learning how to free yourself from your stress reations at those moments when your first impulse is to feel threatened and to run or take some other kind of evasive action or to fight."   page 255

"Precisely because perception and appraisal or the lack of them play such a major role in our ability to adapt and respond appropriately to change and to pain and to threats to our well-being, the major avenue available to us as individuals for handling stress effectively is to understand what we are going through.  We can best do this by cultivating our ability to perceive our experience in its full context, as we did with the puzzle of the nine dots...In this way, we can discern relationships and feedback that we may not have been aware of before.  This allows us to see our life situation more clearly and thereby influence the level of stress associated with our habitual reactions in difficult situations.  It also frees us from the tight grip of our many unconscious beliefs that ultimately inhibit our growth.  SO it can be particularly helpful to keep in mind from moment to moment that it is not so much the stressors in our lives but how we see them and what we do with them that determines how much we are at their mercy.  If we can change the way we see, we can change the way we respond. page 241

- from Jon Kabatt-Zinn

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