Is it possible that stress becomes a good thing?

stress, good, bad, eustress, distress

Why is Stress Good & Bad?

 

When you think of the word “stress,” what is your initial reaction?

Many of us have mixed feelings when we think about stress, and many of us believe that we are stressed when in reality we are only experiencing a sense of too much going on at once. Stress, in its truest form, is not good in the slightest, because it can lead to many health issues which have negative connotations for both the body and mind. However, with that in mind, we must ask if a certain degree of stress be a good thing?

We should really figure out what stress is before we go any further.

Stress is a feeling of too much pressure; simply too much to deal with, and it leaves you feeling that you can’t cope, either physically, mentally, or both. Excessive stress is negative, as we mentioned, but a small amount of stress can be a motivating factor. It’s important to realize that many people measure stress in different ways, so what stresses one person out, might not even bother someone else – it’s a totally personal deal.

 

The Good Side of Stress

Let’s deal with the positives first. A small amount of stress can be, as we mentioned, motivating, because it can push you to go beyond what you thought were your limits, meaning you achieve something you thought was out of reach. This is a good thing!

 

If you are feeling stressed about a certain issue, then it could be that something is trying to tell you that you need to deal with it, when in your mind you are avoiding the issue. In this instance, a certain amount of stress can be trying to teach a lesson that you need to take notice of in order to move to a calmer state of mind and being. Maybe it’s your subconscious trying to tell you something, but if you are supposed to deal with an issue and you don’t, negativity is not going to go away.

 

So, to sum it up, a small amount of stress can basically be an indicator that something isn’t quite right, and this then gives you the opportunity to right the problem and move on.

 

The Bad Side of Stress

Stress is generally not widely known for its good side and is much more widely known for its negative side. A significant amount of stress can be dangerous, because as your stress levels rise, so do the stress levels in your body (cortisol, to name just one) and that, in turn, causes your blood pressure to rise. If you know anything about heart issues and stroke, you will be aware that increased blood pressure has a big role to play in the risk factors for such dangerous conditions.

 

On top of this, excessive stress causes:

 

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase in weight (thanks to those stress hormones)
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Problems with work
  • Problems with relationships
  • Anger and rage
  • Unable to focus

 

As you can see, none of those issues are welcome!

A genuinely stressed out person will not want to socialize, and they will certainly not be able to concentrate on anything for longer than a few seconds.

 

What Causes Stress?

Everything and anything really! The main causes of stress generally have to do with work, relationships, family problems, and money issues, although it’s perfectly acceptable to feel stressed over a different situation in your life too. Stress is personal and totally individual. One of the other main causes of stress is living in the future too much.

It’s true to say that if you are living in the past, you are sad and regretful, if you are living in the future you are anxious and fearful, and if you are living in the present, you are at peace. So, surely it’s as easy as learning to live in the here and now?

Well yes, but is it that simple?

No! If your brain is used to thinking in a certain way, then you need to re-train it, and that is going to take time and effort. For every single negative thought that enters your mind, you need to replace it with a positive, and that means being mindful and grounded for every second of the day while you’re re-training your mind. Yes, it can be tiring, but it’s certainly a worthwhile process, because over time you will find that positivity becomes second nature, and as a result, you will feel infinitely less stressed.

 

How Can You Reduce Stress?

 

  • Deal with the issue which is stressing you out – be brave and face it head on
  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga or another discipline which focused on grounding and breath
  • Exercise generally
  • Get out into nature, e.g., go for a walk
  • Socialize, see your friends regularly
  • Learn a new skill – this will make you feel more confident and hopeful overall
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Write down any thoughts which enter your mind and cause you trouble
  • Talk, talk, and talk some more!
  • Prioritize your tasks – if you feel there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, write down your tasks and tick them off as you do them, prioritizing the most important ones first
  • Declutter your life – this can be as simple as clearing out your wardrobe or throwing out junk which is cluttering up your house
  • Sort out your finances – be brave, be realistic, and be honest, and then you can come to a plan which will clear the way to a less stressful situation
  • Practice positivity – we talked earlier about replacing every negative thought with a positive
  • Plan something exciting – perhaps a weekend away, a holiday, or a night out, basically something to focus on

 

So, do you consider stress to be bad or good?

You could argue that it’s both to a degree, but it really depends on how stressed you are in general. If you are too stressed and it is causing you physical, mental, or emotional problems, then you are too stressed, and you need to take action. However, if you feel just a little ragged, e.g., you have a lot to do, then you can learn to use your minimal stress to push you to achieve everything you need to do.

Motivational stress is a wonderful thing; negative stress is not – learn to know the difference.

By Szymon Pelechowicz

see more from this author: http://lovemeditating.com/useful-links/

Memoirs from my Africa Peace Summit Experience

african, memoirs

Arriving Kenya at the Kenyatta University for the Africa Peace Summit (APS) as a first timer was impressive. From a cab driver who offered assistance at no cost to help me meet Tim to the warm organization of the APS team, I knew I was in for an experience of a lifetime.

With the enthusiasm and already made up mind of usual conference long deliberations and talks with little or no implementations, I never knew I was in for a mindset shift.

From the first day, I was awakened to the caliber of participants: Young, Enthusiastic and Liberal. Representing the African Youth Movement. I was privileged to facilitate a side event on “Role of Media in Peacebuilding”; but this was just the beginning of an amazing experience.

What if everyone knew the road to peace in the world starts from within us? What if everyone knew the bold step is simple if we try to get connected to the centre? This I understood and began throughout the conference to add to my peacebuilding skills: inner peace.

From the partnerships created to the friendship established; from the views of speakers during plenary to idea sharing by Mediatrics at the world café including action provoking keynotes from Ms Worakate, LP Pasura, Dr Umar and many others.

All the sessions impacted in me an improved culture of peace and partnerships across Africa to establish it.

Looking forward to greater engagement across Africa and the world.

by Daniel Nwaeze

The chinese Bamboos- A story of patience and faith

An oldie but a goodie tale

It is becoming common knowledge that Bamboos are some of the fastest-growing plants in the world, and are of enormous economic and cultural significance in some parts of the world due to their versatility such as being used for building materials, as a food source, and as a raw product.

What most people may not know is that the Chinese bamboo, unlike most other plants, takes a good 5 long years before it sprouts and grows to a length of up to 90 meters in just about six weeks. Fascinating, right? Well let me break it down, just like with most plants, we have to care for it by nurturing with fertilizers, water and sunshine.

In the first four years after planting, nothing happens, the seed doesn’t sprout, the field looks well cared for except for the presence of growth or life from the bamboo. However, in the fifth year something amazing and incredible happens as the Chinese bamboo sprouts and grows to about 90 feet tall in an impressive short 6-weeks time period. Four long years with no sign of life from the bamboo and out of nowhere, existence is formed. In the fifth year, it grows 90 feet tall in 6 weeks. Now, what lessons can we take from the Chinese bamboo?

Patience

He that can have Patience, can have what he will ~Benjamin Franklin

To be patient requires enormous self-control, it means having the ability and the composure to hold back and wait for something to happen without feeling anxious, becoming irritated or panic. Although we are aware of how virtuous it is to be patient, it takes a certain level of maturity, personal growth and a well-balanced lifestyle to be able to truly achieve this. Let me explain;

When one is impatient, they have a strong compulsion for immediate results for whatever it is they are pursuing.

As individuals with a higher vision of our self, the drive for pursuing anything worthwhile means letting go of the “I need to have it now” mentality. Success is a marathon, not a sprint, thus if you are playing the Usain Bolt game, you might be doing it all wrong. It should mean diligently doing your part, pacing yourself, and allowing the puzzle to fall into place. Thus, now the Haile Gebrselassie game. Therefore, we should be willing to accept setbacks, human error, and disappointments along the way.

 Faith

Sometimes, when things don’t go according to plan, we lose faith, not only in ourselves, but also in any potential outcome in our lives. When we experience life’s monumental failures, it’s easy to lose hope, and even faith.Faith, at its core, is deeply-rooted in the expectation of good things to come. Faith can’t be explained by reason or logic, or be understood through a single dimension.

While life can be hard at the worst of times, faith is the knowledge deep down inside that things will get better. It’s taking the next step when you can’t see the entire staircase. Simply put, life would fail to have reason if we didn’t have faith.Without faith, how could we move from one moment to the next without completely second-guessing every last thing we did?

Without faith, we couldn’t expect that things would turn out all right for us no matter what the situation might be.Faith is the energy that courses through every single fiber and cell within our beings. Its part of every muscle and every strand of thought hence its importance cannot be underestimated.

Unfortunately, some people don’t believe in things that they cannot see, they say “if I can see it” then I will believe it.

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The bamboo plant was growing underground during all those years, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond. The plant had to develop a strong unseen foundation (roots) to be able to sustain and support this rapid growth after it sprouts.

The story of the Chinese bamboo tree applies to people who have a larger vision of what it is they want to accomplish, people who want more from life and who refuse to take the easy way out, the “I want it now” mentality. You and I are the same. It takes faith to work while you wait. It takes belief in yourself to keep going. It takes confidence to trust that you will always get paid for how hard you work – sometimes now, often times later, always eventually.

What we become in the process of pursuing a dream or passion is more important than the accomplishment or destination, it is the character developed during the journey that stays when the journey is complete.

~Awanto Ernest

 

Acceptance of cancer – How meditation helped

About meditation and the benefit of it, you can find a lot of texts, information, sayings and also scientific researches   and it is your choice if that information will be stored it in your memory or you are going to do something with it.  Perhaps you have been in near contact with someone who is practicing meditation and you are wondering, why this person is bothering to do meditation. It is such a waste of time. But is it really a waste of time? Just sitting there and doing nothing – what’s the point? Well, there is not much of a point but when you start seeing the changes of your body and your mind especially changes of your reaction of life on a different kind of stimulation, new dimension will arise and deepen your understanding of life. From my opinion, the most important change that is going to happen after some time practicing meditation is growing and cultivating ACCEPTANCE.

We live in a very interesting and challenging time, a lot of information, what is right what is wrong, what to choose, what to reject. I understand it is very confusing, although scientific studies now have proven and confirmed many of the benefits that meditation contributes to the body, like lower blood pressure and prevention of different kind of heart disease like atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, congestive heart failure, myocardial ischemia, and ventricular hypertrophy. But my intention is not to encourage you with a series of scientific studies that have been made in terms of meditation and physical changes of the body; my intention is to tell my story, my benefit of practicing meditation.

Above I have mentioned acceptance besides calmness, tranquility, balance, centeredness, but I think that cultivating of acceptance for me was far more significant. Why and in which contexts?

Recently I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and in the beginning of my seasons of meditation, many things were not clear to me. Sometimes I was wondering and I was questioning meditation but when the doctor confirmed the diagnosis I knew that meditation had prepared me to accept life with all the challenges good or bad.

Every day there is a possibility to die but also every day is a possibility to live. We have to accept fresh and sunny mornings but also we have to accept the dark and cold night.

But you should not trust me, neither scientists nor the famous people and their talking about the benefits of meditations.

See for yourself. Start today!  It is your choice whether you will spend a little time just for yourself or you will go on running in the circle of constant regret, despair, weeping, complaining self-pity, blame…

Simply all you need is a decision, determination, and dedication. However, the beginning is quite confusing because the mind will make a series of expectations and as big the expectations are the greater the disappointment that will follow.The beauty of meditation is when there are no expectations just acceptance, self-acceptance, acceptance of life or death, of happiness or sorrow, acceptance of whatever the life will bring.

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by Moni Kuzmanovska

How to be proactive in making peace with the environment

environment, storm, beach

The single most important social issue of our day is climate change. Desertification, receding glaciers, massive hurricanes, tsunamis – the list goes on. Our habitat is changing and we must adapt. The question is, how can we do it in a peaceful manner?

If one spends any time at all listening to the stories of people in highly affected regions, they feel an inevitable tightening of the chest. It’s quite possibly a glimpse into our collective future. The trick is feeling the emotion fully without getting stuck in the mire of it all. We want to be informed of the realities and at the same time have enough optimism to carry on and improve the world we live in. The realities are clear; there’s no changing how we got here.

The Inuit of coastal Greenland are losing a grip on their entire way of life because of the vanishing ice. Traditional hunting tactics – like stalking seal and narwhal from a sled – are proving nearly impossible. There’s very little ice to stand upon anymore. It’s all ocean. Hunters are forced to use boats – read: loud – and the hunt is rarely as prosperous as in decades past. The local economy is strained to say the least and Greenland’s suicide rate is the highest in the world.

The anxiety response that people feel in reaction to hearing stories such as the Inuit’s is three-fold.

There’s empathy for one, one of the most beautiful of human capacities, which just leaves us feeling sick and heartbroken for the culture and people. It’s hard for those living a comfortable lifestyle to experience the crippling level of physical and mental disarmament faced by people in this position. Empathy is the closest we can come to understanding.

There’s also the underlying fear that such level of suffering is an inevitability for us all. There’s the fear that we’ve degraded our planet to a point that she will not sustain the kind of habitats we have come to expect from her. The notion sweeps any level of safety, the second tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, right out from under or feet.

The third point is the natural outcome from the first two responses. People want to do something to help. The anxiety comes from feeling unsure about how to take action. The first two feelings can only be healed internally; the third is the only one that can manifest in the world. It has a very clear solution. Not sure how to take action?

Support People in Need

With the increase of destructive weather events that we’ve been seeing over the last decades, there are more and more people who need help preparing, surviving, and recovering from disasters.

Environmental Social Worker Annie Muldoon, MSW, reports that the people who are “most immediately and profoundly affected by environmental destruction are those who face multiple systems of oppression.”

It’s the poor, the mentally ill, recently released prisoners, and other marginalized groups who are the most affected by environmental disasters. As a rule of thumb, the harder it is for someone to cast their vote during election season, the harder it is for them to sustain a natural disaster. There are all sorts of factors in play.

For example, while there are more and more non-incarceration social rehabilitation programs for people who need help integrating into society, the only way those programs will be successful is if the people they serve are given an equal chance to thrive – and honestly, survive – in their home environments.

A volunteer in a position of relative privilege can take a lot of weight off their collective shoulders.

For people who live in regions prone to natural disasters, the best way to help is to be proactive. Get involved with local organizers. Assist in making plans for emergency shelters, providing supplies, and aiding in recovery efforts. Offer to help in whatever ways you can.

Sometimes supporting people and offering aid looks different than the norm. There are all sorts of things that natural disaster victims have to sort out after an event. Logistics like filing insurance claims and interviewing contractors after a destructive storm are hugely important to reclaiming one’s home and life, but they can be huge stressors. Helping a neighbor file insurance claims is far from glamorous volunteer work, but it’s the sort of thing that can really help a person breathe easier.

In short, if you want to help the people most affected by climate change, be proactive, offer everything you can, and engage in the community.

Protect the Planet

There are of course the accepted measures that every citizen should be taking to reduce their environmental impact:

  • Use energy efficient bulbs and appliances
  • Fix things like leaky faucets
  • Carry reusable shopping bags
  • Reduce, recycle and reuse

But we needn’t stop there. No matter how environmentally conscious we think we are being, there will always be further steps we can take to shrink our carbon footprint even more:

  • Buy local … really … even if the big box stores are cheaper
  • Drive less: bicycle, walk, or carpool to work
  • Plant trees on your land and in your community
  • Be an advocate for wilderness
  • Volunteer for trail maintenance and other stewardship programs

Keep a Peaceful Mindset

The environment is not at war with us. It’s important to remember that. There’s this human tendency to create opponents and pit them against one another. We define entities, like countries, and then there are inevitable disagreements between them. Conflict, war, escalation.

In terms of the environment, the only war is a war against ourselves to make up for the mess we’ve made.

No one is fighting tsunamis with hand grenades. No one is saving the ice caps with an AK-47.

It’s important to remember that while the storms can be catastrophic, and there are victims without a doubt, the environment is not an enemy against which to wage war. In reality, the natural world is probably the closest incarnation of real, living peace that any of us will ever encounter.

 By Katie Kapro

Peace and Sustainable Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A successful mission

Peace is truly in jeopardy in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the country has faced severe war for years, and is currently going through a “rehabilitation” period which is a favorable period for peacebuilding initiatives. Indeed, some smart thinkers of an organization called East Eagle Foundation which is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo and represented by the Peace Rebel Fabien Numbi Ntambi, believe that peace is the absence of conflict and the plinth of any sustainable development. They are well aware that real peace can only start in the mind and wanted to help sow the seed of peace into the minds of the youth of Congo and (especially the one of Kinshasa) so that sustainable development is fostered in their various communities. Continue reading “Peace and Sustainable Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A successful mission”

Recupera tu esencia

We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.
Alan Watts

Continue reading “Recupera tu esencia”

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

The very first time when I heard about meditation happened many years ago when I was 16. I had been introduced to the world of deeper understanding, although back then I have been too young to comprehend. I remember that I was attracted by this secret power called meditation. People who meditated seemed to be so different. But I wasn’t sure If I was curious or opened enough to learn more. Continue reading “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

After I quit my job I have found the light to guide me

It was back in the beginning of 2015 when I decided to quit my office job, which has become a routine and stopped boosting my self-development and giving me satisfaction. I realized that more than that I also needed to ‘restart the system’, in the way we restart our computers, with the only exception that the system was my mind. We all are in a constant search for new inspiration, new ideas, new paths. So was I. Continue reading “After I quit my job I have found the light to guide me”