Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Managing Stress

In Buddhism, any form of stress, be it large or small, is called suffering. As an American, when I think of suffering, I think of death or some major trauma. But when I really think about it, even small stresses cause some type of suffering in my life. Even small things, when added together, can cause a major upheaval.

I think about the lawsuit that's pending against me and the added responsibilities at work. Throw a little newlywed syndrome on top, and sprinkle it with a little bit of low finances. And I turn into a stark raving maniac.

Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the realm of our personal lives as "our kingdom." He says that we are our own kings and queens of our kingdom, but sometimes we don't want to go there because there is too much suffering. But we must. The only way we are going to get better is if we do.

For the next couple of days, try unwinding and slowing down. Pick a relaxing ritual for yourself and indulge in it every night. Here are a few options to try. Try experimenting with works best for you.

1. Take a bath.
2. Spend 5 minutes breathing. It might take a couple of weeks for your mind to start to slow down, but you have to start somewhere!

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