I saw a programme on the BBC recently about stress in modern society. The part that most stood out to me was a group of school children sitting around with their eyes closed, taking part in a mindfulness session. This might help with the symptoms of stress, but I don’t see it tackling the core root of the stress that we experience in this society.
As humans we are pack animals. We are designed to live and to work together and to support each other. We cannot survive without other people. Imagine everything that you do from the moment that you wake up. How have others contributed to this? For example, someone will have constructed your bed, delivered your furniture etc.
In modern Western society, and in particular in London, the sense of community and belonging appears to have rapidly disintegrated.
The result is a culture in which the people who we pass and bump into each day are strangers. My grandad used to talk passionately about he and my grannie used to walk along the local high street and they would know every person who they bumped into and they were able to stop and have a chat.
This lack of community leads to a feeling of distrust among people and a culture of feeling unsafe and at dis-ease. We feel separated from others. If we live in an area that feels safe, we may be in a constant state of hypervigilance. This means that we are in resistance to our environment and this leads us to want to try and exert control over our environment. This is what leads to much of the stress that we feel on a day to day basis.
From personal experience, I have put a lot of effort into trying to analyse how to make people treat me better and to try to cognitively alter my behaviour in such a way so that I do not suffer abuse. However I have found this not to bear very good results! Human interactions are energetic and the forces at play are normally stronger than what the mind can control with its rationalisations. What HAS worked has been to simply trust myself and my innate instincts. If something does happen to go wrong then I can use it as a learning experience.
Psychological abuse damages the sense of trust that we have within ourselves. By learning to trust ourselves, we can start to feel safer in our bodies and create a sense of inner peace.