What Is A Stress Response?
Stress is an emergency response system that evolved to allow our ancestors to thwart attacks on their life, like attacks from a wild animal or other situations encountered when living in the wild unknown. The stress system response evolved in order to allow the body excess adrenaline and cortisol, which are hormones that are initiated during the fight or flight response. When this state is activated, blood and other nutrients are diverted from the organs and the immune system is lowered in order to conserve energy for the fight or flight.
This means, either fighting a wild animal or running from it to try to reach safety. Yet, in modern times, we are typically not chased by wild animals in our everyday lives. Instead, we are attacked by modern pressures of work and life and other responsibilities.
We may feel like we are under immense pressure all the time and therefore cannot get out of the fight or flight mode. When this happens, we often refer to the issue vaguely as “stress.” Stress means that rather than the body being in a mode to rest and digest, it is pumped up and ready to run. Because the situation of stress is chronic for most people in modern times, this can begin to cause negative effects on the mind and body.
Chronic exposure to stress can weaken the immune system and can even change the DNA and may cause early aging and health decline. Long-term stress can also lead to inflammation and other symptoms like depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease, hypertension, headaches, and other issues.
Sometimes it is obvious that chronic stress is the culprit, and other times, when someone has been living with high stress levels for a long time, they may begin to see this as their normal functioning and not even notice how affected they are or which symptoms are related.
Mindfulness and attention to our health and wellness through guided meditation can allow us to make new connections about our health and can introduce a framework for making new and healthier choices in everyday life, leading to lower stress levels and greater fulfillment.
How to Manage Stress Levels with Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is a listening meditation that involves a short, guided session that takes us through a series of imaginative scenarios to help us see clearly the past and create a new vision for the future.
Topics vary for guided mediation and can involve self-confidence, health and reducing stress levels and reducing anxiety. Stress is not something that is out of control, but rather it is something that with attention and patience can become a motivating factor for change in our lives. When we experience high stress or even extreme mental breakdown, we are experiencing a mirror for our actions and our lifestyle. These high stress times allow us to see where we are pushing our limits and how we can best reel back out energies and actions to something that is more manageable and makes us happy.
Instead of always striving to do more and be better, we can see where we have gone too far and pushed ourselves too hard. We can see where we made compromises and didn’t stay true to our values. Guided meditation allows us to recognize these instances and take note of them without condemning ourselves or wishing for a different outcome.
Instead we can reflect through guided meditation and create a new understanding of our story and how we came to be in our current situation. Only when we see this clearly can we take insightful action towards a new reality. Practicing guided meditation daily allows for the consistency of change to manifest in our lives throughout the seasons.