Are there things that you consider important?
I hope the answer is YES.
Then you will experience some amount of pressure to actualize them.
Here’s a usual pattern:
- A person’s under pressure, but keeps going. They are still healthy and strong enough to cope. They may not know their own limits.
- They slowly begin to wear out. At this point they may not yet see themselves as stressed out.
- Their performance slows down.
- At a certain point they are unable to continue; they see a professional, and go on sick leave. For many people that’s when they have time to read up on the subject, try Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, or explore alternatives.
Let’s change that. Let’s not wait till that last stage to incorporate some meditation and mindfulness into our life.
7 SUGGESTIONS TO AVOID STRESS BUILDUP
1. Seize every opportunity to practice mindfulness. Commuting? Use the time to meditate. Driving? Instead of getting impatient during red lights get in touch with your breath and let go. Don’t lose your centre while waiting for appointments or while waiting in line. Every breath counts.
2. Avoid time-stress. Allow yourself plenty of time so you won’t feel rushed when going somewhere.
3. Each day is like a walk on a dirt road with lots of muddy potholes. You tense up to jump over a pothole; do you relax completely afterward? If not, the left-over tension builds up, and you might feel exhausted by the time you get home. Whether those potholes are tense phone conversations, unexpected demands, or worrisome emails, take a deep breath after each one and let go.
4. Check regularly that you are breathing from your belly. We all breathe from the diaphragm when sleeping, Babies do it all the time. It is relaxing.
5. Practice intentional optimism. If your mind enjoys creating worst-case scenarios, give it some lessons in positivity.
6. Notice that your heartbeat slows down as you breathe out. When we sleep, we breathe in quickly and breathe out slowly. Doing that consciously may make it easier to fall asleep.
7. Keep love in mind. If you are a teacher, that means love for your students; if in a helping profession, love for your clients. Stay with love at all times, love for yourself, and love as the default feeling for others. That was Buddha’s advice for overcoming stress and anxiety.
Thich Nhat Hanh lived in Vietnam during the war. He knows about stress first hand.
He has also found peace by practicing as a Buddhist. He also knows peace intimately.
SOME FAVOURITE THICH NHAT HANH QUOTES
- I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given to me to live.
- In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.
- When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?
- Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention. Enjoy and be one with your work.
- You have to train yourself, to learn how to go home to the present moment, to the here and now.
- Our own life has to be our message.
- People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.