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Resilience for Emotional Stress

The Why Behind Relaxation & Mindfulness

large decorative bouquet made of green leaves and moss hangs over man's head

I’ve received a lot of skepticism about the value of relaxation and mindfulness exercises, and frustration when practicing either with some regularity does not make the discomforting feelings go away.


News flash: It’s not supposed to.


As a human being, you are supposed to feel the full spectrum of emotions. Read that again.



 

As a human being, you are supposed to feel the full spectrum of emotions.

 

If you are fully experiencing your humanity (cue relaxation and mindfulness exercises) you’ll notice that, most times, you experience more than one emotion at the same time, and that they may be polar opposites.


The point of relaxation exercises is to self-regulate by kickstarting your parasympathetic nervous system so that you do not act on your sympathetic nervous system’s knee jerk fight or flight response.


The point of mindfulness exercises is to increase your awareness of your inner world.


Paired with mindfulness exercises, relaxation exercises help increase your tolerance for the discomforting feelings you begin noticing as your awareness of your inner world increases.


As your tolerance for the entire panoply of thoughts and emotions that exists within your inner world increases, your understanding of how to nurture your sense of wellbeing increases. Your tolerance for the ways in which the external world impinges on your sense of wellbeing may decrease, but your knee jerk reactions will decrease because of the increased self confidence that comes from increased self knowledge.


Being able to tolerate your own discomforting feelings increases your ability to tolerate other’s discomfort, and that allows you to step away from fixing discomfort that is theirs, not yours.


So please, give relaxation and mindfulness a faithful try. And remember that feeling more is a sign of growth, not failure.


Image in post by freepic.diller on Freepik


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