Research on people’s reactions after disasters has provided strong evidence for how we tend to react when the stressor is too high – i.e. when the disaster strikes. No matter what happens in a catastrophic event, how it happens, or in what part of the world it happens: too much is too much for those who are involved. The impacts of such experiences are usually severe, and survivors often need professional help afterwards. The recovery process, and working through the stressful events, may require long time. One will never quite forget the disaster. In Norway, the most severe recent event is the brutal mass killing at Utoya on 22 July 2011. Survivors and the families of the victims have recently gone through the trial – a painful ten-week ordeal, which reactivated the experiences of the disaster for many of those involved.

Everyday stress
Compared to such disasters, everyday stress may at first glance seem to be of little importance. But when each of us are faced with it, it feels difficult enough, whether it is to handle stress at work or in our private lives. All of us experience some level of stress from time to time. Many also have the experience that the level of stress sometimes feels too high.

We have different tolerance for stress. Some seem, at least to others, to handle whatever comes. Others tend to be more vulnerable when the level of stress is higher than they are comfortable with. For many, after some time of endured stress, typical reactions, like the following, may suddenly come as a surprise: “I cannot take it any longer; I need to stay home from work, or just get away!”

Experience with Acem Meditation indicates that it is definitely easiest to reduce stress in terms of daily residues while we meditate. The difference between before and after meditation may be striking. But how do we recover from stress that has built up over time? With a bit of patience and steady meditation practice, seems to be the answer. Why? When stress has built up over time, it takes time to release the tensions, and the meditation time may be well spent.

Prevent new stress form building up
Whenever possible, the best we can do is to prevent new stress from building up. The daily residues should be worked through before they interfere with our tasks in our everyday life. Therefore – to keep an eye on our own threshold of vulnerability to everyday stress seems wise. And Acem Meditation seems to do a useful job.