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Stress: The Threat to Serenity

stress-200If serenity is the goal of spirituality, then stress is the threat to that goal. Serenity is the balance and oneness that allows people to function best (see link below to post on serenity). We get knocked off balance and fragmented as problems pile up and demand focused attention. Then we feel stress. However, we can bring ourselves back toward balance and oneness.

When We Resist We Create Stress

Stress exists from problems that we resist. Tying your shoes could be considered a problem. It was at one time for many of us. However, we learned how to tie our shoes and now tying our shoes isn’t a problem. It’s not a problem if you wear shoes you can slip on. It becomes a problem if your laces break. Of course, you may be able to fix the problem of broken laces easily. Nevertheless, you’re likely to groan in that moment as you have to take time out to address the problem. The groan comes from the resistance we feel to having to fix a new problem.

Reducing Resistance Through Acceptance

Life is always going to have problems, if you think of problems as the gap between need and have. We need things and we don’t always have them. What’s more is that we add more things to our lives that create more needs if we don’t have those things. Any time we don’t have the things we need, it becomes a problem.

If we accept the existence of problems, we can reduce stress. Part of our stress is about getting angry or resentful of problems even though they are inevitable. If we can accept more problems, then we can simply use our energy to solve them rather than wasting our energy resisting them, which depletes us and adds stress. In practice there are times we do this automatically, like the shoe tying problem. However, it can help to adjust to other problems in this same way if we can simply accept the gap between what we need and what we have.

If we let go of things we don’t actually need, we can reduce stress.  We don’t have to accept everything as an inevitable problem. Sometimes, we can simply examine whether or not we need certain things and then discard things we don’t really need. This reduces stress, because rather than focusing on what we need, we choose to eliminate that need all together. The more needs we can eliminate, the fewer chances there are to experience that gap between need and have.

Practicing Release Through Meditation

Sometimes, we just need to release the stress itself, and we can do that through meditation. Meditation is a practice that can calm us and give us the peace we need to address our other needs. It can give us a break from added burden of stress itself. Sitting quietly for 15 to 20 minutes, focusing on nothing but breathing can help us find serenity when stress encircles our lives.

Learn more about the benefits of meditation on the Mayo Clinic website

Read about Practicing Serenity (or Why Should I Believe?)

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