A doctor friend of mine once said to me that the only truly stress-free condition he knows is called rigor mortis. It would appear that almost everything we experience is a stressor which means that stress may not necessarily always be bad for us.
But good as stress may be the growing body of evidence shows that left unmanaged it accumulates and changes the wiring of the brain and the physiological responses of the body leading to many diseases that have a high mortality rate.
Stress affects not just out physical health but also our mental health and, yes, even our ability to socialize. The reason why we are so highly susceptible to stress lies in the fact that we are wired to recognize and respond to a massive variety of stressors.
Because the body and brain form one whole, indivisible, adaptive machine stress is something we respond to in order to adapt and overcome. What stress does to our brain inevitably affects our bodies and vice versa.
While stress triggers a whole host of involuntary physical and psychological responses there are strategies to actually use the brain to gain conscious control over them, to some degree. In some way we are no different to lab rats.
To learn how to cope with it all we have to go to the “best of the best” and learn how to handle stress from Navy SEALs. The entire scope of The Sniper Mind is to teach its readers how to best handle their brains under pressure which means that adapting to stress and handling it requires awareness and a strategy.
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and there is an excellent guide on how to meditate in the Appendix section of “The Sniper Mind” but just in case you haven’t yet got it there is also this handy guide giving you nine steps you can apply in your everyday life.
We now have a body of evidence that shows us that mindfulness and meditation have long-term, positive implications for the quality of our mental and physical wellbeing. This kind of discipline and approach to life can redefine fundamentals such as pain, reshape our brain and increase even our sense of empathy.
We are physical beings. Our mental self is housed in a body of flesh and blood and bones and nerves that inhabits an environment that affects everything we are and, quite possibly, everything we can become. Unlocking our mental and psychological capacity requires us to push and strain against whatever physical limits we have.
When even the language we use determines how we see the world and what decisions we end up taking it is important to realize that the things we don’t do intentionally or are aware of have the capacity to control our life and take us down paths we don’t control which may be at odds with what we want.
Everything is the result of something else. There is no avoiding the ripples. What we do need to do though is become aware of who we are, cognizant of where we really want to go and then work hard to get there.
If you’ve done your job right coffee is right there, in front of you. You’ve got plenty of donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake within easy reach. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.