“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle: you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
There are three universal stressors that affect all human beings. As discussed in my previous blog, the three Universal stressors are cataclysmic, objective, and subjective stress. We will examine a specific remedy to treat cataclysmic stressors. Arguably, the man who has faced the most significant stressors in the world was Dr. Viktor Frankl. He endured the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp and amazingly survived by remaining positive. In Dr. Frankl’s classic book, Man’s Search For Meaning he states, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Let us explore this further.
Cataclysmic stressors are tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, volcanic eruption, wildfires, etc. However, in today’s society we can include mass shootings and acts of terror as cataclysmic stressors. These events are unpredictable and cause loss of life and great pain and suffering for those directly involved. Is there a scientific principle that those who are not directly involved can employ to help diminish stress? Yes. The remedies are a Universal Prayer for Peace or a loving-kindness meditation. In his classic work “Healing Words,” Larry Dossey, M.D. discusses the scientific evidence for the healing power of prayer. There are countless Universal Prayers for Peace from many different religious traditions. In essence, through these scientific practices you are wishing someone well and expressing compassion for them. Also, you are expressing gratitude. Science has shown that wishing others well and expressing gratitude confers a plethora of health benefits for the individual. When you wish others well through a loving kindness meditation, you are improving your brain's health through neuroplasticity. The next time you turn on the T.V. or read the newspaper and hear about a cataclysmic event, do the following loving kindness meditation: Visualize the people experiencing the cataclysmic stressor in your mind’s eye and say, “May you be happy. May you be at peace. May you be free from suffering.” Repeat this powerful loving-kindness meditation silently three times. This practice will immediately bring healing. However, if you are a politician that can change the law, or a soldier fighting terrorism, or a philanthropic millionaire, you may have the power and resources to directly alleviate world suffering. But the common citizen can immediately reduce stress and bring about healing by silently repeating a Universal Prayer for Peace or performing a loving-kindness meditation.
In my recently published book, Three Steps To Superior Health: An Evidence-Based Guide for Stress Reduction, Longevity, and Weight Loss, I discuss formal and informal meditation techniques for dealing with life’s stressors. Also, you can download a free workbook, that takes you step by step on a 12 week plan to Superior Health! The upcoming blog will focus on subjective, perceived mental stress.