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 ?
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?
I have my entire life tried to “do more”. I wanted to read novels before I knew all the letters in the alphabet. Over achiever right here! I strived for perfection because I was led to believe that is how one becomes successful. I wanted to get into college, get a career in veterinary medicine and make a good living. I had a list of goals: become an RVT, get a car, get a Rottweiler, get married and buy a house. Those were my goals. By 2006 I had completed college, became an RVT and was driving around in my car with my Rottweiler puppy and my future husband. In 2010 we bought our house.
What is success?
Most literally, success is simply the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. (Google Dictionary)
Success comes and goes, and our own versions of success can change as time goes on. Everyone’s version of success will always be unique. When someone feels successful personally, others may still judge them as unsuccessful only because their version of success is different.
Some people feel success is tangible, like a new car or a better paying job. Others will argue success is intangible, like the fulfillment people feel that comes from helping others, such as volunteering.
There are positives and negatives to both sides.