Most mornings I open the theater straightaway. This morning, I slept late. 5:30. I made a cool change and don’t feel at all like writing. Oops, a wispy stress energy brushed up against me. You know that feeling of stress, an uneasiness that has no immediate apparent cause, but sends our blood pressure up?
Well, I have a prescription for managing stress. I’m a meditation teacher/practitioner. The Rx: Meditation. The Best Stress Management Tool. It’s a breeze to learn and it can easily become part of our daily routine easily. (For example, writing is my morning meditation.)
Take a deep breath. Gently and silently exhale. Go do something you enjoy, and when it occurs to you, notice the flow of your breath. Follow it while you’re doing what you’re doing, several times or all while you’re making coffee, taking a shower, baking a blueberry muffin… or whatever. This is an active meditation. And the benefits accrue.
I am part of a team of people who help people lower their blood pressure without medication. We work for a public charity, so the classes are free to the community, public health departments, retirement and 55+ communities and even in the corporate workplace, where a lot of stress hangs out. We talk about nutrition, fitness and stress management. My role is to present The Relaxation Recipe. Mostly, it’s about meditation, learning to relax, and allow meditation to do its magic by reducing our day to day reaction to stress and helping us make more mindful choices in every aspect of our lives. Here’s a preview of what you might hear dropping into a class or going to our website.
The Relaxation Recipe – There are no more lions chasing us.
We longer have to worry about a lion or saber tooth tiger running us down for a lunch date. But, because we share the same fight or flight response as our ancestors, we react to a rude driver, an impatient boss, or a slow store clerk as though in flight from life-threatening danger; at least, that’s how the body reacts, even though we know better.
The scientists tell me that stress is like dumping dishwater into your bloodstream. It just sends a corrosive cascade of chemicals, especially a couple of hormones; one that causes a poor distribution of fat and stores most at the midsection, front and center. Big bellies are not all stomach. It’s often a combo of fat and stomach. The system is hurting. Hello, high blood pressure and other dis-eases.
On a more subtle lever, our first reaction to the brush of stress is to look for what is out of order and set about to put everything in order and proper perspective. Stress says if you want success you got to partner up with stress, push beyond your comfort zone and become known as a hard worker. You must be disciplined and regimented. All positives in a world that says you must work to eat…except for the stress.
The boss wants the job done by noon and you know that’s a real push. Who you gonna call? Stress – right, you know. The reports due. The bus must be late. Stress. Stress. You’re retired, but you married Project Kathy. That’s life. High blood pressure and all. The good news is
OK, so back to stress and how to manage it later. I got laundry to do. Susan left the basket out in direct view from where the laptop sits. She’s a hoot.