Science Shows Being Aware Reduces Stress

Being aware of how we personally cope with stressors can determine the impact they have on our bodies and minds. Quite often when we are triggered, we run to old habits to cope. Many coping mechanism people have, include eating, happy hour, sleeping, shopping, or blaming. We often use distractions, dismisses or denials as coping mechanisms. These “D’s” may relieve the stress trigger for the moment, however, in the long run the trigger will come back and often even stronger than before. Being aware of these negative coping mechanisms is very important to facilitating change and positive growth. Awareness gives us the power to make a different choice in the present moment to enable us to act in a healthier way.

In the Journal of Research in PersonalityVolume 65, December 2016,  there is the article about a study showing Daily stress and the benefits of mindfulness: Examining the daily and longitudinal relations between present-moment awareness and stress responses. The studyhad university students and staff complete an online mindful training course then measured ability to cope with stress.  Grace Bullock, PhD, summarized “Results of the study confirmed that those with greater present moment awareness were more likely to respond to stress with strategies that led to greater health and well-being. Specifically, being able to be present in the moment when stressed, was directly linked to greater perceived ability to handle that stress, and more resilience of core values to navigate the stressful situation.” The study suggests that being present and aware increases stress resiliency and serves to alleviate chronic harmful stress

There have been numerous other studies that link awareness in the present moment to lower levels of perceived stress, anxiety, improvement of mood and overall a sense of improved well-being. Eckhart Tolle, teacher and author who has been praised by, among many, Oprah, said “With the awareness there comes choice. And so you are able to say: “I allow this moment to be as it is”. And then, suddenly, where before there was irritation, there is now a sense of aliveness and peace. And out of that comes right action.”

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