Positive psychology advocates meditations from the Buddhist concept of lovingkindness, where we consciously fill ourselves with positive emotions of harmony and gentleness. A clinical trial by Carson et al in 2005 published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing found that this meditation lead to a decrease in pain, anger and psychological distress in a study of patients with chronic lower back pain. When we bring the mind towards peace it finds it within ourselves. From this state we have the confidence to be authentic as we accept and love ourselves for who we are and not an unrealistic gold standard. This peace within radiates out enhancing our relationships as we connect from a place of harmony and not competition, Pema Chodron quotes “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves”.
The relationship we have with ourselves is a determinant factor in how we view the world, relate to others and deal with pressure. Strong interpersonal skills begin with an intrapersonal relationship rooted in kindness and compassion. If you conduct yourself by pushing through an obstacle with force, chances are you struggle with stress as you view it as a facilitator of action. This shapes the way you interact with others making it more likely that you use force to get what you want. The cycle of internal and external stress being a driver to achieve desired results empowers tension creation as it engenders aggression as necessary. How do you think that makes you feel? Often when we are at this stage we desensitize from the emotional responses from the overactive fear center manifesting in isolation and insecurity. The proliferation of this chain reaction then reaches an alarming state in the body which we must see as an alert to change our lifestyle and break the tension feedback loop. We cannot deny the physical affects once it starts to manifest in stress related conditions such as panic attacks, insomnia, ulcers and high blood pressure to name a few.
When we begin releasing stress we all start on the physical plane, noticing first that your neck feels stiff or there is pain around the lower back. As we use the body with mindful alignments we connect with our breathing patterns, noticing if the stiffness of the shoulders correlates to short frequent breathing pattern and by bringing deeper, slower breaths the patterns become more soothing and efficient. This might give rise to feelings of calmness and relaxation allowing ourselves to release the emotional blockages of anger, frustration or fear in a safe and trusted space. Eroding the emotional baggage gives way for us to be more introspective and assess our thought patterns that had led us to these feelings, we let go of the need for perfection, judgement and condemnation which allows us to feel authentic and restful. The tension cycle releases the root cause of stress freeing our energy causing us to feel calm and confident which improves our physical posture and functioning. We need to go through the different stages of awareness to surrender the layers of resistances to arrive at lasting inner peace.
Setting your intention on finding inner peace helps you to re-evaluate the role of stress, discovering that it blocks the experience of inner calm or contentment and damages your health. When we dedicate the intention of wellness we release stress by encouraging acceptance and awareness of yourself and ultimately in others. When we are focused on peace of mind, we don’t get as easily agitated, we are more willing to let go of judgements and understand that replaying scenes of distress in our minds only perpetuates the cycle of tension creation. With mindfulness and sincerity to harmony within we can ascertain healthy habits and bar the inner dialogue of criticism that fuels stress. Reflect on when you heard about a news scandal, how does constantly talking, scorning and over analyzing it make you feel? An intention to inner peace will circumvent behaviors that aggravate stress responses and help you mindfully choose more positive thought patterns.
Combining movements and awareness makes the practice an insightful self-exploration. First our attention is on physical movements of strength, balance and flexibility, then as we get more astute we connect to our breathing, synchronizing the breath and movements to feel the lift in energy. With consistent practice our awareness becomes more refined in its subtlety and expands to our thought patterns, feeling the movements and breathing supplement the intention of harmony and happiness. Stress is released from the source as it is rooted in the negative thought patterns, when we contentiously select our mental attitudes gearing to the positive we enliven the virtuous cycle of habit formation. Inner harmony is gained by acknowledging that all components work together interdependently, the thoughts affect our breathing patterns which affect our body, how we physically feel affects our energy which circles back to our thinking. Seeing this integration on an internal level we appreciate the function in each component to release stress and value the full system as a whole. Are you aligning your body and mind to improve or impoverish your sense of wellbeing?
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