Stress has become so widespread these days that it is now considered part and parcel of everyday life. But truth be told, it is a raging epidemic. And it should no more be considered part of everyday life than, say, the Black Plague.
Indeed, in some cultures, stress is even unheard of.
In the mad dash for economic and professional gain, material wealth has subconsciously become the ultimate standard for success and has made its way to the top of most people’s priority lists. Life is a rampaging freight train, and in your hurry to get to your goals, the scenery just whizzes by in a blur of indistinguishable imagery.
This seemingly irreversible trend has spurned burnout, has strained relationships, and has brought about many a mental breakdown. And though it would be unrealistic for the world to do a complete turnaround and return to the basics of simple living, you have, within yourself, the power to effect positive change.
Take it easy. Learn to relax. Do breathing exercises and meditate. Never lay down while meditating as you will only fall asleep. Instead, sit up straight, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and empty your mind of all thought, concentrating only on one thing. It can be a single word, a mental picture, or an abstract idea, as long as you focus on nothing but that. Feel yourself go on an inward, spiritual journey, and your soul will be grateful afterwards.
Detoxify. Drink plenty of water as this will aid your body in flushing out harmful toxins that have accumulated from all the unhealthy habits of modern living.
Sure, Saturday nights are ideal for dinner with friends and a movie. Taking time out to be alone, however, can be just as rewarding, if not even more so. Allot an entire weekend all to yourself. Lower the phone volume or take it off the hook altogether. Turn off your mobile. The idea is to get rid of anything that could serve as a distraction. Even clocks are a distraction, so you might want to drape a small towel over yours to conceal its face and keep you from knowing the time. Take a nice hot bath while listening to relaxing music. For a more invigorating ambience, light some candles or burn incense. Your overall surroundings should be conducive to relaxation.
If you have the means, go on a retreat. This is an excellent opportunity for you to escape—literally and figuratively—from all the stress and routine of your existence. This isn’t a regular vacation in that you ought to drag along friends, coworkers, or family members. Retreats are best undertaken in solitude, amidst nature and austere but breathtaking locations. Bring none of your modern conveniences, except perhaps a player and headphones for the relaxing and inspirational music you intend to pack with you. Wear comfortable clothing, and check your perfume, makeup, and jewelry at the door. Bring a lot of reading material as this is the perfect time for you to catch up on them, especially those books that require your undivided attention. Keep a journal handy to write down your thoughts, reflections, and personal goals. Alcohol and cigarettes are absolutely out of the question.
In some retreats, yoga sessions are offered. You might want to continue this when you get back to the real world, totally refreshed and energized. Yoga classes are quite popular, and with a little bit of research, you can find one in your area to keep those muscles flexing and your spirit soaring. It’s the perfect way to achieve balance between mind and body.
Stopping to admire the roses doesn’t mean stopping permanently, just as experiencing life at a much slower pace doesn’t suggest giving up on the world entirely. There is nothing quite like discovering meaning in the simplest things or finding joy in the mundane, and in doing so, realizing that in less, there is actually more.
# # # # #