STRESSCALATION Has your family or workplace ever felt like a chain gang throwing the hot potato of stress from one person to another?
In a sweet children’s book from 1963 called The Quarreling Book, leading vintage kids author Charlotte Zolotow sets up a humdrum domestic scenario we all recognise. Gruffness and anger is passed along from person to person until a little dog starts a chain of happiness that reverses the trend.
More recently, Marty Boroson, author of One Moment Meditation (2007), wrote in The Huffington Post some years back: “When we pass stress on to others, we create a more stressful world.
When we bring our stress forward into the next thing we do, it has an effect. We make costly mistakes. We fail to notice novel solutions. We give other people a difficult day. And then they are liable to do the same to others.
In other words, we become agents of stresscalation.
"… almost every stressful situation would be improved if we took a moment to unstress ourselves. And no matter how stressful the situation, being stressed about it is just not a very effective way to deal with it.
"Instead, you could take a moment to meditate (my preferred approach), or you could do a little dance, sing a song, beat your chest and yell like Tarzan, force a belly laugh or go for a quick run around the block. Just make sure that the stress doesn't get lodged in your body, your voice or your state of mind.
Meditation interferes with the stress response. Stress thrives on the accumulation effect, the buildup of annoyances and grievances.
Stress sensitises us to further stress. It doesn’t take much to encounter the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
As our hot potatoes lose their edge, we gain ours. We become more sane and rational. We find fresh solutions. We’re better able to relate to our button-pressing people.
We discover that being unstressed is a very good way to deal with stress! - Hey, so what if the Jones’ can’t make it to the event! We’ll do fine without them. - Missed the deadline? Life goes on. - Little sister got the shits? She’ll get over it. - Overloaded? I can drop some of this burden. I really can.
Stopping and sitting in the space created by meditation, puts us in touch with what matters.
For best of all, the benefits of meditation don’t end when your session ends. The afterglow of meditation has us moving through our day with more clarity.
Boroson concludes: Meditation might be one of the most important things you can do for your health. It might be the one of the most valuable gifts you could give to others. It will benefit all the people you love, all the people you work with, and all the people you just happen to bump into (or, rather, don't bump into, because now that you're less stressed, you can see where you are going).
Put stresscalation in hibernation.
RESOURCES Martin Boroson is author of “One-Moment Meditation: Stillness for People on the Go,” and offers training in this technique in corporations, hospitals and online. www.onemomentmeditation.com.
I am soon offering a nuts-and-bolts Meditation course in Kyogle (NSW Australia) Going through the very basics … how to sit and why; best and most effective ways to go inward; ways of using the breath (including pranayama, centering yogic breathing); approaches to observing the mind; and an assortment of different and varied meditation approaches so you can discover the style that works best for you. Monday evenings, 6.00 -7.30 pm for eight weeks, 15th October to 3rd December 2018.