It has been well documented that many working Canadians experience high levels of perceived stress. In 2012 , researchers Duxbury and Higgins reported that 57 percent of a sample of 25,000 working Canadians experienced high levels of perceived stress. Only 3 percent of the sample reported low stress. It is also becoming more well known that the practice of mindfulness can help significantly reduce stress symptoms.
In the Feb 3, 2014, TIME magazine featured mindfulness on its cover along with an extensive article titled “The Art of Being Mindful” attesting to the growing popularity of mindfulness and it’s efficacy for stress.
We all know that some stress can be an important motivator and we know that it can help us rise to meet the many challenges in a work life. However, it is also understood that stress can become a real challenge to our productivity and health if we experience too much of it, it lasts too long, or the stress comes too often.
Stress, by definition, occurs because of our automatic reactions to demands. These reactions include a variety of responses that we can sense in our physical bodies, in our thoughts, and emotions. We can think of them as physical and psychological arousal that may eventually lead to a sense of needing to “fight” or “flight”.
Mindfulness works by changing one’s relationship to this automatic stress reactivity. MIndfulness helps us to be more aware of our stress, its nature, and how to develop a conscious response to the demands. This takes effort and persistence as the reactivity of our bodies and minds to stress either quite automatic and/or very habitual.
Over a short period of time, with regular mindfulness practice, anyone can discover a calm, dependable and reliable inner core that is unwavering and large enough to handle any stress that comes.