Why Reduce Stress?
Stress can cause unnecessary pain and illness. Stress triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response which readies your body to do battle, beat a hasty retreat, or it can immobilize you. Fortunately for most of us we no longer need to be on the lookout for tigers hiding in the bushes ready to pounce on us. Most stress these days is produced by factors that are not actually life threatening, like guilt or worry (past or future thinking). However, your brain and body don't realize that those thoughts are not actual threats to your survival.
Thoughts and emotions that are left unchecked and unnoticed can lead to illness, injury and unhappiness. Prolonged or chronic stress from threats (real or imagined), can result in physical or psychological pain or illness by overloading various systems in the body and eventually taking its toll by compromising immune function, affecting blood pressure, weight gain or loss, disease, digestive problems, sleep disturbance, and emotional impairment.
Mindfulness can help to reduce stress by giving you the tools you need to identify and change reactive behavior patterns that do not serve you. Being mindful of your own patterns of behavior when you are stressed gives you the knowledge and power you need to be able to pause and choose a course of action that serves your well being.