Some Thoughts About Stress: Helpful Advice from Mindfulness Experts

Stress – we know it’s terrible. But we feel it, sometimes more than others, and it can be hard to avoid. Luckily, organizations want to help educate us about stress, giving us the tools and resources to manage our feelings and navigate stressors.

Becoming Jackson Whole is one of those organizations. Based in Jackson Hole (if you hadn’t guessed), their team is dedicated to helping their beautiful mountain town find a little balance in the hustle and bustle of modern life.

“Stress triggers our fight or flight response, which is a good thing if you are staring down a predator and need your heart to race, pumping blood and oxygen to large muscles so you can run,” illustrated Sara Flitner, President and Founder of Becoming Jackson Whole. Flitner served as former Mayor of Jackson, is a trained and certified mediator, and has over 25 years of experience in collaborative problem solving, organizational leadership, and resilient communication and business strategies. “But for most of us, stress comes in the form of long commutes, workplace conflict, worry over housing or money. And these ruminations keep the stress response firing over and over, which is what causes negative impacts to our health. Simply put, being stressed feels bad and is bad for our blood pressure, our heart health, our immune system. The good news is, there are things we can do to build resilience.”

Flitner explained that there are little things that we can add to our day to help combat the stressors we face. “Physical and mental exercise in the form of walking, hiking, mindfulness, yoga, even the practice of gratitude are all simple tools to interrupt the stress cycle and get back on track. Science around social connection and our biology – we’re wired for connecting – means reaching out to a friend, counselor, or colleague is helpful. You can trust research or a Swedish proverb: ‘Joy shared is a double joy; sorrow shared is a half sorrow.’”

Flitner continued that we can best help others manage their stress by learning to manage our own. “Watch the kind of impact you can have in a room full of anxious people if you can muster calm, compassion, clear thinking. The next best thing is to invite people who are struggling with stress to share a practice or tool that works for you. Begin meetings with a short mindfulness practice. Invite someone to go on a brisk walk. Ask how someone is doing, and give them your full attention.”

“Stress is something that we can’t escape, and we must learn to face it in healthy and constructive ways to mitigate its impact on our lives,” said Molly Hughes, Executive Director of the Hughes Charitable Foundation. We are delighted to have been a past supporter of Becoming Jackson Whole and other vital organizations as they spread awareness and support for our mental health.”

Of course, learning to work with stress is a lifelong process, tweaked and adjusted along the way to fit the ever-changing times. But with a little support and mindfulness, we can shake off more of its shackles and unearth a little more peace.

More from Becoming Jackson Whole

  • Friday morning guided Zoom mindfulness practice for 10 minutes | Join In
  • Community Practice Calendar | Save the Date
  • Moment to Arrive practice | Learn More
  • Opening to Awareness 7-Day Challenge | Sign Up
  • Pocket Practices for Daily Mindfulness | Learn More
  • 21 Day Challenge | Sign Up
  • Free recorded guided meditation practices | Listen