Meditation and stress are two concepts that are often associated in everyday language. But why ? We could say that the relationship is based on a problem as well as a possible solution. However, in order to be able to say this, it is necessary to understand how stress can become pathological and how meditation can help to dispel symptoms.
This subject often escapes physicians who prefer to avoid it. But this is not the case with Dr. Daniel Lopez Rosetti. This Argentinian cardiologist and stress specialist has appeared in various media for his particular view of everyday problems. He is considered the “easy-to-talk doctor”, distinguished by his conceptual clarity and proximity to the public.
Stress: our internal enemy
Through his personal experience, Lopez Rosetti identified in his own organism the consequences of suffering and mental exhaustion. The obstacles and problems that make us suffer would have an impact on our body in the physical sense of the term.
However, we tend to ignore it because this impact is not that crippling at first. But, when we least expect it, it shows up as a disease.
Loads and resistances
Dr Daniel Lopez Rosetti went through a period of great stress due to the death of his father. For professional and personal reasons, he could not give the necessary attention to this experience and restrained the pain.
While on vacation, he was diagnosed with pleural tuberculosis. According to him, stress is chronic suffering that is sustained over time. To understand it, we could represent it in the form of a balance:
- Loads: these are the things I have to resist.
- Resistors: the ability to withstand loads.
When the loads exceed the resistance capacity, symptoms occur. This process is generally considered to be somatization in psychology.
The straw that broke the camel
The fundamental problem arises when the equilibrium is upset and the loads outweigh the resistances. Symptoms are information the body sends us to indicate that something is not working right. This is generally expressed as follows:
- Insomnia. Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Chronic pain. Headache, stomach or muscle pain.
- Nervousness. Anxiety and panic in the face of situations related to stressors. One of the body’s most common alerts.
- Lack of air or restlessness. The most common symptom of burnout . The patients are agitated without any physical effort justifying it.
- Impaired memory and concentration.
- Irrational fears.
Symptoms are information
For Doctor Daniel Lopez Rosetti, symptoms are information that cannot be ignored. Even if we go to an empathetic doctor who understands us, it is ourselves who must interpret the stress signals. For this, it is important to understand the following structure of the stages of stress:
- Perception. Reality exists through our own mental processes. The interpretation of reality predisposes the human being. So ignoring or paying attention to the signs of stress are two different things.
- Behavior and habits. Ignoring stress results in falling into an endless circle. For example, a person who smokes when stressed will develop compulsive behavior to smoke more. The same goes for food, alcohol or any other unsuitable habit.
- Physical and psychological symptoms. The behaviors mentioned are transformed into physical and psychological symptoms. A physical example would be impaired sleep or restlessness. A psychological example would be anxiety or depression.
- Sickness. If the stress persists, the physical and psychological symptoms result in illness. The body thus urges us, in a brutal way, to stop.
Intervening in the event of stress: how to get rid of our suitcase?
For Dr Lopez Rosetti, a stressed person is, in short, a person who is not happy. The treatment of stress is medical, psychological and even philosophical.
A person who does not notice the consequences of stress in his body, may not have an obvious reason to let go of it. It goes beyond any medical or psychological tool such as medication or behaviorism. This is when we consider the relationship between meditation and stress as a possible approach.
What is meditation ?
First of all, it is not something esoteric, religious or strange, even if it is related to spiritual processes by its characteristics and its origin. For Dr Lopez Rosetti, meditation is a biological process. This statement is based on the differentiation of functions in the brain.
The left, rational, logical and mathematical hemisphere is responsible for the permanent intrusive thoughts. When we focus the attention of the left hemisphere on an object and are able to concentrate, we are meditating.
Meditation and stress: the right hemisphere in ecstasy
When the left hemisphere (usually dominant) focuses, the right hemisphere, more abstract and spatial, comes to the fore. This hemisphere does not have the conception of time of the left hemisphere and, therefore, we gradually enter into a relaxation which lowers the state of alertness and restores bodily functions.
Meditation and stress: how to reach this state?
According to the author, meditation is possible by using an object that captures our attention. Regardless of its meaning. It can be a candle, a mandala, or a Christian rosary.
The religious, the mystical and the superstitious are relegated and the main thing is that this object captures the attention of the person. The left hemisphere is concentrated and the right hemisphere can then work freely.
Meditation and stress: a matter of habit and practice
According to Lopez Rosetti, the relationship between meditation and stress is fruitful as long as the former strategy is practiced regularly. This technique will not cure us, but will cut the negative feedback loop that turns habits into illnesses.
How many times have you stopped to check if all parts of your body are okay? This is why it is recommended to meditate in various forms:
- Guided neuromuscular relaxation. Concentrate and fix your attention on various areas of the body in a gradual way.
- Breathing exercises. Breathing deeply helps lower your heart rate.
- Focused concentration. Focus on an object with the help of relaxing music.
- Stimulus control. Don’t give importance or moral examination of every intrusive thought. Just let them pass.
The hustle and bustle of everyday life means that, for example, we realize that we have gastritis when the pain becomes unbearable. All of this can be avoided by taking a few minutes every day to disconnect and assess how our body is coping with the pace of life that we impose on it.
“Anxiety is a normal process up to a point. Beyond that, it becomes abnormal and useless. ”
-Daniel Lopez Rosetti-