Stress, in the literal definition, means a pressure, tension or strain placed on an object. Bending metal, pulling chain or rope, puts physical stress on the material. Under excessive stress, these materials will break.
Humans are the same, but our pressure, tension and strain are not usually physical. They can be – under situations of extreme exercise or threat of physical harm, but otherwise most of human stress in North America is psychological. These pressures and strains are our daily obligations and expectations that we face in personal, professional and family interactions.
There has been a lot of debate recently over the impact that mindfulness and meditation have on people who practise these activities.
Some people swear it’s their salvation, others warn of the mental health damage they can leave in their wake.
So who can you believe ? Are mindfulness and meditation the key to happiness ? Or will they cause more mental health issues, bringing up horrible traumas that we have locked within us ? Is it all a fad, just another gimmick for us to spend our hard earned money on ?
Whether you want to call it the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression, the winter season DOES produce feelings of sadness, hopelessness, despair and loneliness in many people. Usually this change occurs between the months of September and April, with many people noticing a serious change throughout January and February.
If the winter months have you feeling suicidal, I recommend seeking professional help from law enforcement, a hospital, your doctor, or mental health crisis centre.
Why Does the Weather Get Us Down ?
Every once in a while we come across stories that can be life changing. While reading the book “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff, I was introduced to just such a tale.
We call them wolves, tigers, or sharks. Bears, eagles and lions symbolize their strength. These are the relentless humans who will stop at nothing to achieve. They may be loud, seemingly unemotional and intimidating. Society rewards them with terms such as successful and powerful, and showers them with money. Other people want to either BECOME them, be WITH them, or even just be AROUND them.
Meditate. Yoga. Take a walk. Have a nap. Read. Light some candles. Drink some tea.
These are just a few of the hundreds, maybe thousands of things someone can do as “self care” exercises. Self care is defined simply as doing something you enjoy for no other reason but to show appreciation to yourself.
It’s a great thing, and extremely necessary because people don’t do enough for themselves.
However, self care exercises can easily become another spoke on the wheel of anxiety and judgement.
You should. We should. They should. I should….
Should – used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.
The word “should” denotes an expectation. Families should have children. Children should learn and grow according to the recommended timelines. Parents should send their children to the best schools and enroll their children in physical activities. Young people should go to college. Everyone should get a job. You should save money to buy a house. You should save money for retirement. We should spend money to boost the economy.
Is this word really damaging though?