Stress in humans is a physical and/or emotional response by the body and mind to outside stimuli or internal mental thinking, resulting in the release of chemicals into the bloodstream. While its causes may vary, it is often thought of as the reaction to negative situations, although even seemingly positive moments or happenings can trigger it. For example, the excitement over a coming event, though a wonderful happening, may cause much stress over anticipation of the inevitable moment.
There is physical stress, for instance, the force of one object on another or the impact of exercise or exertion on the body. You can be stressed-out, over-stressed, under stress, the cause of stress, etc. For the student of meditation, mental stress is often the focus of study.
The student sat in a moment of quiet observation of the thoughts going through their mind. They were not thinking, rather watching the thoughts as they passed through their mind. They focused their awareness on the emotional impact provoked by some of the thoughts. The thoughts were random, some of the past, some of the future. Occasionally their mind focused on the moment and presence was felt, consciously aware of the act of meditation in the moment as they observed the stream of thought. Many of the thoughts provoked feelings of joy, some doubt, others provoked feelings of stress and anxiety. As the student came out of the stillness they were well aware of the emotional, as well as, the physical impact the thoughts had on them. Aware of the joy and anxiety caused by the stream of thought, which was happening in their mind, not purposeful thinking.
A meditation, try it out here or there, when it comes to your mind, or not. Focus your attention on something, then, like the student, bring your attention to the thoughts, if any, that make you feel stressful, even the slightest amount. Acknowledge to yourself how the unintentional thought that flowed through your mind brought you distress. Understand the thought provoked the stress; you did not “choose” it; you mentally moved in the direction of the thought and felt distress. Observe how the thoughts triggered the negative feelings. You are not the stream of thought, no more than you are the results of its actions.
It’s a new day.