Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dealing with Stress? Choose Peace of Mind.

It is considered as fact that a large percentage of disease is the direct result of stress. Add to stress, nutritional deficiency and lack of exercise, and disease is pretty much a certainty. Health starts in the mind, but the condition of our minds are so often out of our control. Before, or at least concurrently with changing to a healthy diet and starting an exercise program, ways, means and techniques for relief of stress, need to be taken into serious consideration.
While listening to a session of people talk about their past weeks emotional difficulties, I observed that most of it had to do with conflicting with other people. It seemed to me that most of the conflicts were entirely unnecessary expressions of pridefulness; people taking offense at real or presumed derogation of self and their response after shifting into “I take no crap from anyone” mode, or “you hurt me and you had no right to do that” mode. Standing up for one's rights so as not to be a doormat is not necessarily unhealthy, but how many conflicts are such that turning the other cheek would result in any real loss. The conflict unsuccessfully avoided will certainly result in a tangible loss when the accumulated affect results in disease, or loss of interest in doing anything worthwhile.
Because of the time lag, cognizance of the direct relationship between cause and effect is frequently muddled and perhaps simply unrecognized. The old saying that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is most certainly untrue. The question is, can we learn to not allow words to hurt us.
We can't control the words others may hurl at us, but when we allow the negativity of other peoples language to make us upset and angry, we have been controlled. How does that defend out rights or dignity? This can only be considered a successful theft of our peace of mind. In these cases, putting more value on someone's negative opinion than our own internal peace allows the thief entry into our inner mental sanctuary.
Is it possible to smile and simply refuse to participate in a conflict? Not always, but learning to stay in charge of our emotions by staying focused on the greater value of our internal peace will always be the better alternative. When the angry and upset emotions get the upper hand, it's time to clear the mind, break the narrow focus on the cause of the disturbance as you would move a magnifying glass in the sun away from that that smoking point of intense heat to where the light is diffused allowing cooling to take place. Like the magnifying glass, move your awareness out to diffuse into the world and the universe so as to regain perspective. One persons opinion at some given moment fades into insignificance when we have achieved that broader awareness.
What else can we do? How about making use of forgiveness for others so that they loose power over you. People who want to see themselves as tough and as persons who refuse to be walked over frequently see being forgiving as a weakness. The truth is that the very opposite is true. This may not be so easy, meaning that strength is required to go against one's emotions, how can this be considered weakness?
This one may be even harder. How about forgiving your self so you neutralize your own emotional autoimmune activity? That is to say that you quit killing yourself for something that you can't do anything about. You can't change the past, so maintaining self condemnation is self destruction, and just a slow form of suicide.
All the forms and sources of stress are so varied and often complex that it's a given that there is no magic bullet; but keeping a cool head and finding others with cool heads for support and aid in thinking through problems is always a good plan.
If all preventative measures fail and you're left with a high dose of adrenalin and cortisol, it would be a good time to consume it with a good physical workout, perhaps to some high energy music. It would be a shame to waste all that energy on some pathogenic, neuron corroding stewing. It sounds like I'm stating the obvious, but I'm thinking of a person in the aforementioned discussion who said that he'd go to bed after getting riled up by a conflict.
It's certain that demanding respect, and living all the drama that this entails, is profitless. Perhaps it is possible to stay in charge and let everyone who wants their drama take it elsewhere so we can concentrate on doing worthwhile things; like changing that diet, getting a good exercise program going, finding people to share in this endeavor to form a mutual support and encouragement group, and getting a body that feels good to live in.

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