Experiencing stress is a normal part of life, but sometimes our stress can feel unmanageable and trigger intense emotions, such as anxiety or depression, or lead to chronic pain in the body.
You might be dealing with stress at school, in the form of pressure to get better grades or increasing your extracurricular activities. Or you might be dealing with stress at home, in the form of arguments with your mom, lack of money, or moving. There are many different stressors in life, and unfortunately, if you don’t know how to manage your stress in a healthy way, it can cause you to react or behave in a way that is counterproductive or even harmful. For this reason, learning how to handle stress effectively might just be the most important thing you can learn. No matter where you are starting from, rest assured that there is a way through every block.
The term mental discipline refers to your ability to recognize and respond wisely to your thoughts and feelings. In other words, it’s about making a committed, often daily decision to consciously choose which thoughts you are going to cultivate and pay attention to. Doing so helps to build resilience and rise above those life challenges so you can live each day more fully. It’s also very important to focus on your goals that is, what you want, rather than what you don’t want. In other words, instead of focusing on your problems, focus on their solutions!
One of the most common techniques for cultivating mental discipline is called Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present – aware of where you are and what you are doing, and it teaches us how to respond with conscious care to our circumstances. There are hundreds of ways to learn mindfulness, and no single way is right or wrong. It can be as simple as watching your breath – following the inhale and exhale as they move in and out of your mouth – or walking through the park and paying close attention to how your shoe hits the ground with every step.
In the beginning, you may feel silly or find it hard, but it will get easier. You just want to approach it with an open mind and without expectation. The good news is that mindfulness can be practiced by anyone—no matter your religion, age or background—and it can be practiced at any time, anywhere! Doing a simple search for “mindfulness” online will provide countless options for specific exercises to help you get started.