As a culture we are addicted to stress. I will admit that I loved the adrenaline rush of working an all-nighter on a client pitch. It’s become more common to talk about how stressed we are than how thankful or content we are with life. The next time you go out to lunch, pay attention to how you and your party members interact. You may find yourselves trying to one-up each other on stress levels as if it were a competition. Modern culture, American specifically, focuses on the idea that we must suffer in order to gain or achieve our goals. Nothing in life is free and hard, rigorous work is the only way to obtain what you desire. And what does that mean? Doing more than everyone else. However, who says we cannot succeed while remaining content? What is the rush? Why are we so smitten with the idea of being above the rest? What even is the great “success” we are chasing?
I’m going to tell you this, if you keep this mindset, you’re never going to be satisfied. You will always try to chase after this goal or desired idea of happiness that only lies in the future but, in truth, you can reach it and still not think it’s enough. Get off the hamster wheel, value your life right now.
I love working with companies and teaching their employees the importance of applying mindfulness in everyday life as a tool to help lessen the effects of stress and help boost contentment with the present. Mindfulness can be practiced in a series of ways, one does not have to sit cross-legged in a room full of incense and mutter “ohm” for 30 minutes in order to be mindful. You can meditate in multiple different ways, even by walking around the block whilst focusing on breath and movement.
The key to meditation is not necessarily what you do, but rather how you do it. Focusing on the movements of the body, becoming aware and present, and breathing with purpose are the most effective ways to meditate. This is why yoga is a practice that if so closely linked with meditation and mindfulness, making it such an important tool.
As many of you know, the very nature of yoga is slow, fluid movements while focusing on breath work. While practicing yoga, one breathes in tune with the changing movements of the body, in order to create a fully aware and present mindset. This is why yoga is so effective in relieving stress; it is why this over 5,000-year-old practice has managed to remain a prominent part of people’s lifestyles. It is why yoga is not a hobby, but a connection to life.