Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Relieving Stress

We hear a lot about stress these days, and its negative effects on health. There is one thing about stress that we need to be clear about. Stress is created in the mind.
Living in a big city or any other place doesn’t have to connote to tension, if you condition yourself to be the master of stress. Actually, the universe does not possess stress of any type except the kind that is under control and produces beneficial results.
The argument might be that there is conflict in the world. That is true. However you can compare this to a storm at sea. You would not expect a vast body of water such as the ocean, to be ceaselessly calm like a small pond. There is vastness, strength, and magnificence about the ocean. It experiences storms which produce air currents which, in turn, provide water making the earth fruitful, abundant. This is natural, creative stress.
Despite this inherent tension of oceans, as most people venture to the sea they experience peace, relaxation and calmness. They are without stress.
The same might be said of forests. There is drama inherent in natural areas – animals opposing animals, trees competing for the light. Weak, diseased trees die and others push past them to take their place. And yet as we enter the forest, we relax into serenity. It is this unforced tranquility of nature that helps us forget our troubles, and resume our natural rhythm. We don’t identity nature with tension. That is a mental perspective.
The frenzied worry of everyday concerns dissolves as one listens to the multitudinous sounds of nature. There is continuous action in the natural world. It is organized, controlled, directed, harmonious and rhythmic. Perhaps we live too far removed from nature, amidst steel, concrete and the noises of a mechanical-technological civilization.
To say that we live in a tensed-up world cannot mean that the planet is full of stress, but that the people living in it suffer from stress. But it is a choice to live in stress. You can also choose to live in peace.
Here are some ideas to help you reduce stress:
1) Give yourself one hour of quiet time daily. (Contemplate, take a walk, meditate, read a book. Do something relaxing for you.)
2) Recognize when stress becomes distress. Then change activity; do something different, or take a break. If you are inside, go outside. If you are sitting down, stand up. Move!
3) Locate the vulnerable places in your work and private life. Get help, reduce expectations, change time requirements, delegate to someone else.
4) Simplify your process. Get rid of unnecessary steps and stuff. Clean out drawers, closets, storage areas, file cabinets. The less, the better.
As we incorporate stress-reduction techniques into our lives, we discover the ability to be in control – not of outside forces -- but of our minds, our beliefs, and the way we choose to look at things. We feel freer and more alive!
You can reach Jean Walters, Personal Growth Consultant and Life Coach at 314 991 8439 or email her through her website at