The Secret (Hidden) Cause of Stress


Jeff Biaetto, Author and Speaker

By: Jeff Baietto

Most people are fans of magic and the tricks of illusion, especially ones that involve reading people’s minds. For example, think of a number between 1 and 10. Write the first number that comes to mind. Let me guess… You picked… (My guess is at the end of this article!)

Let me play the mind reader one more time. In one word how would you describe your life the last few weeks? Let me guess. Busy? Unfortunately this guess doesn’t involve any kind of magic. Nearly everyone feels they are “really busy” or have too much to do. Do an experiment yourself and ask the next ten people the above question and see how they answer. Chances are most of them will also describe their life as busy.

In our face-paced world, it’s simply a fact that most of us have too much on our plate. With so many responsibilities and information to process, it’s often we’re playing catch up from the moment we wake up in the morning.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could snap our fingers and be relieved from all of our mundane duties and obligations? We aren’t magicians, however, there is something can do. In our magical world of daily lives, many people are suffering from illusion-induced stress.

Science has long known that the mind cannot distinguish from what is really happening and that which is vividly imagined. The simplest example is when we dream. Have you ever had a scary dream and woke up sweating with your heart racing? When you woke up you realized it clearly wasn’t happening in reality, but your body was reacting as if it was completely true.

When we are awake, most of us are continually thinking (imagining) all of the things we have to do that day and usually we are worrying about them in one way or another. Whether we are just continually going over them in our mind, which is technically the same as actually doing them over and over… or worrying about whether we’ll get them all done, our bodies are experiencing the stress as if we are actually doing them. The real kicker is that it’s being taxed each time you think about it!

Believe me, your day is filled enough without with your mind adding to it and yet that is exactly what is happening. You are getting the stress of your real day and the illusionary stress of your mind’s continual repetition of what you’ve done, are doing, and still need to do.

This is the problem with an overactive imagination that has gone untrained and unmonitored. The old saying, “The mind is a terrific servant, but a terrible master,” speaks to this. And many of the eastern philosophies focus a great deal of training on simply quieting the mind. This is the whole premise of meditation. It helps keep the your mind in check and let’s you focus on what’s actually in front of you.

Now, no one wants to leave a show empty-handed, so before you go, here is a quick meditation exercise you can do right now to help train your mind.

Close your eyes and take ten long and slow breathes. Simply focus on the flow of air in and out of your lungs.

Could you make it to ten without your mind wondering? Don’t worry most people can’t get past seven the first time. (Which, by the way, was the number you picked at the beginning of this article!)

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