What happens to generate stress:
We are all faced with challenging circumstances. This is inevitable. Unfortunately when negative circumstances occur our responses and reactions can sometimes make the situation worse. The chain reaction:
- Unwanted Circumstance
- We judge and label
- We blame ourselves – and feel guilt and shame
- We blame others – and feel hatred and anger
- We dramatize and exaggerate
- Our emotions are triggered
- Our blood pressure and heart rate increases
- We are anxious and make bad decisions
- We create more unwanted circumstances
The Skills we cultivate Through a meditation practice.
Meditation is a discipline that develops awareness, focus and concentration. It helps us become aware and sensitive to our emotions, thoughts and reactions. It cultivates the ability to see more clearly what is really happening and increases the chances of constructive action rather than a reactive response. We can not stop the catastrophizing cycle if we are not aware that it is happening.
Compassion and Self-Compassion
We are humans driven by a need for being treated with respect and dignity. We need to feed valued. When these needs are not met we are wounded and can react in self-destructive ways. When we blame ourselves we feel guilt and shame. We need to accept our human frailty and nurture ourselves with self-compassion. When we blame others for problems we feel hatred and anger. We need to accept the frailty of others and treat them with compassion. The anger and guilt can be motivating forces to inspire us to constructive action but far too often it can drive us into self-destructive reactivity. We need both awareness and compassion to wake up from our emotional trance and become inspired to constructive action.
Letting Go / Acceptance / Being Proactive
- Letting go is about letting go of a story line of the drama that drives our emotions.
- Acceptance is about accepting what is real in this moment without emotional change. It is NOT about giving up on life but working to improve it while enjoying each moment as it is.
- Proactive is about focusing on what we can do about negative circumstances rather than finding blame and getting lost in a narrative.
Cultivating a Sense of Well Being through these Inter-related skills
All of these skills are inter-related.
- The more aware we are the more likely we will be to finding compassionate constructive reactions to situations.
- The more accepting we are the more compassionate we can be.
- The more compassionate we are the more accepting we can be.
When we are aware, compassionate and accepting it leads to a sense of well being.