Can Meditation really help you get through challenging or tough times?

Can Meditation really help you get through challenging or tough times?  Does it really make a difference when you’re dealing with a lot of life stressors.  That of course depends on what kind of life stressors you’re dealing with.  If it’s an extremely tough time it’s not going to be the only tool that’s going to help get you through it.  

You’re going to need multiple approaches if you’re going to be successful with dealing with a lot of different situations such as a death in the family, the sickness of a child, work projects, trauma situations or being in school full time going for a PhD.  If you have too many sources of pressure you’re going to need to learn how to manage most of them and having just one tool isn’t going to do the job.  

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If all you have is one tool in your toolbox, it would be very difficult for you to do repairs around the house, especially if there are multiple projects which require a wide array of different tools in order to get the job done.  Have you ever tried to repair a light fixture with only a pair of needle nose pliers?  You might be able to pull it off, but if you had wire strippers, electricians tape and a set of screw drivers, you will be more successful.

Meditation or mindfulness is a useful tool that you should be using all the time, but is especially useful during a time of high stress.  Other tools might be required, but having a mindfulness skill is essential in increasing the effectiveness of just about any other tool. To get the most out of a mindfulness practice and to which degree of success you have will depend on how often you utilize the practice and a reinforce your mindfulness skills as a behavior so if the situation

If the situation becomes highly stressful and you don’t have the skill, you have not developed this mental muscle, you have only invested 1, 2 or 3 days a week for 5, 10, 20 minutes, then it will not be enough.  If it is not consistent it will not become an automatic behavior.  This would be like thinking that you could go to the gym and lift 60, 70, or 80 pounds when you’ve never spent a day in the gym and never done any kind of physical activity in your life.  If you don’t go to the gym, then you’re not going to be prepared when all the sudden you are faced with 100 pound desk that you have to move.  It is going to be overwhelming.

Mindfulness, meditation and even contemplative prayer are extremely useful if you have an ongoing practice and you have learned to strengthen those muscles. Remember that one of the most powerful aspects of having a mindfulness practice is that it allows you to catch yourself when you begin to dwell on a thought or when you begin to ruminate. Again, having this skill allows you the ability to notice when you have become stuck.  It provides the ability to be more fully aware that you are stuck or trapped and therefore allows you to see more clearly and find your way out of the situation.

I have noticed this ability now after years of having this type of practice.  I am able to detach from the notion a lot faster then I had been able to before.  Mindfulness accelerates how fast one can actually see what the mind is doing and contributes to allowing me to take some form of action allowing and to move through it with velocity. The easiest way to answer this question then,  does meditation really help during really tough times is, yes, absolutely. 

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