love – Patience – Tolerance

The crushing impact of improperly met stress

If there is one guarantee in this life, it’s that problems don’t go away.’ We can avoid them, suppress them, bury our heads, and hope they dissappear. We can keep charging through life in the hope they just disintegrate behind us like dust in the wind. But the weight just keeps adding on. Eventually , we break!

At age 16, a year after leaving home, my hair began falling out. Not just strands but whole patches. The crown of my head dropped out in a matter of weeks. I had a perfect bald circle on the top of my head. It was embarrassing, to say the least. The Dr diagnosed it as alopecia. A physical reaction to stress. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

I had developed digestive problems years before that. Then, as a teenager, I began with skin conditions and eventually stomach ulcers. Stress had damaged my digestive system. Add on alcohol abuse (drugs didn’t come along until my early 20s).  In short, stress resentment and anger had driven me into an unhealthy lifestyle of escaping my overthinking mind and the anxiety I experienced.

Then, I landed myself on a psychiatric ward suffering from psychosis at 19. So, I guess you could say my attempt at suppressing emotions and drinking to ignore my problems didn’t work out too well for me. I had no way to deal with stress. And it flattened me like an ant with a steamroller!

Not everyone falls to those extremes. But over the years, I have worked with many men and women who have struggled with anxiety. Who made overthinking an art – an addictive one at that. They can not rest properly, eat well, sleep sufficiently, and their relationships with family are affected. They have everyone on eggshells because they are under constant tension, wound up like springs ready to snap!

Suffering from stress, anxiety, and overthinking takes an incredible toll on a person’s physical and mental well-being. They are like sleepwalkers. Detached from the present moment. Existing in a world of imaginary problems and overwhelmed by a past, they can not mentally escape. Edging towards serious health issues unless they can wake up from their slumber and find a way to become present – free from the overthinking mind and the thoughts that keep them trapped.

All it takes to break free from overthinking and build resilience to stress, in real time, is to become conscious. To become an observer of thoughts rather than an active participant of everything that passes through the mind. This can be done simply with an effortless daily meditation practice. I don’t mean some frothy, wishy-washy relaxation technique of which there are thousands of on YouTube.

I’m talking of a serious spiritual practice that is not only an antidote to overthinking. But it also brings protection against the negative forces of stress that chip away at us physically and mentally. We become immune to stress the more we practice conscious awareness in our daily lives. Life becomes manageable once more. The ability to practice patience and tolerance is a natural side effect. We heal on every level as anxiety melts away. And it all happens fast!

All that is required is a daily commitment to living consciously in the present moment. Try it, ‘see’ for yourself.

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