September 30     

Today's quotation:

Stress is the resistance to what's happening right now.  As we allow ourselves to open to this moment fully, there is absolutely no stress.

Stephan Rechtschaffen

Today's Meditation:

So much of our stress is caused by the ways that we react to things.  Perhaps all of it is-- I don't know.  I know from experience, though, that when I feel stressed it's usually because of the ways that I'm looking at certain situations rather than because of the situations themselves.  Stress is what happens to me when my thoughts convince me that there's something terrible or negative in a given situation, something that I have to fear or that I think I'm not going to be able to handle on my own.

When we stop resisting what life gives to us-- when we stop fearing the worst out of any given situation-- then our stress no longer exists.  If I don't fear the results of a certain something, then I'm going to approach that certain something in a different way than I would if I were fearful of, or even nervous about it.

I have a strategy when I'm teaching high school.  It's an extremely stressful job, as much for the administrative garbage that goes on as for the students themselves.  I would always feel stressed when I was walking to school, and I didn't like that, so I decided to reframe my walk to school.  Instead of hoping for the best and hoping that nothing terrible would happen, I told myself during my walk, "I get to spend the next eight hours with a whole bunch of very cool young people who are trying to become the best people they can be, and I get to help them do that."  The stress left me, replaced by enthusiasm and energy.

Our stress often is our choice.  When I was in the Army, I put myself in every stressful situation I could because I figured it was good training for the rest of my life-- if the stressful situations in the Army didn't destroy me, the chances that the rest of the world could throw me something worse were very small, indeed.  So if we are causing (or significantly contributing to) our own stress, then it's time to do what a doctor once advised me:  knock the crap off and get on with our lives.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many of us experience so much stress in situations that other people take on with no stress at all?

How might we work towards changing our thoughts towards stressful situations?

What are the possible benefits of changing our perspective towards things that tend to stress us out?

For further thought:

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

William James

more thoughts and ideas on stress



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