• Mindfully Respond to Stress

    The stressors of life leave many of us feeling overwhelmed, disconnected and continuously worried. And the fact is that we have little control over much of the upheaval occurring in our world and even much of the stress that comes from living day to day (staying healthy, going to school and work, being financially stable, maintaining relationships, raising children, caring for others, navigating peer groups, etc.).

    Yet, how we cope with the stress can make all the difference. A key is understanding that we do have control over how we respond to the anxiety, fear and dread that stressful events, thoughts and feelings may trigger in us.

    We often unconsciously react in patterned ways to such triggers (feel anxious, sink into feeling doomed,  drink to numb yourself, etc.). Yet, being triggered to feel anxiety, fear and dread doesn’t automatically need to lead to getting sucked into the vortex of these intense emotions. We have the power to interrupt patterned reactivity that is not serving us well.

    With practice and a toolbox of strategies, you can learn to mindfully respond to such triggers in a way that acknowledges them while staying anchored in the present, investigates how they are affecting you in a nonjudgmental and compassionate way, and finds more rewarding ways to deal with them as well as limit what stress you allow into your everyday.    

    Recognize, however, that changing entrenched habits is hard work that takes time, commitment and lots of trial and error to figure out what strategies work best for you. Be patient as you shift the patterns of how you deal with emotional triggers. Remember that you don’t need to struggle alone to make these changes. Please contact the Mindful Counseling Center for counseling assistance.  

    We also offer several related resources for you to check out:

    Rising the Wave of Anxiety

    Power of the Pause

    Cultivating Self-Compassion

    Why Mindfulness is Important

    Tips on Less Stress Better Health

    (This article was adapted from our Mindful Life e-newsletter, 4-20-22.)