Let Stress Be Your Guide To Stillness

Society tells us that we must remove stress from our lives. Leading us down a vicious cycle. We spend time trying to remove stress from our lives, and then stress out even more when the exact opposite occurs. What if stress was good? What if, instead of removing it you are able to increase your capacity to manage the stressors that are currently in your life, as well as the surprise challenges that occur at the most inopportune moments?

Perception is Reflection

Perception is Reflection

We cannot remove our body’s reaction to the challenges in our lives, we should be thankful for them and learn to find calm and relaxation as much as possible to counter-balance the “fight or flight” response that occurs daily. If we are always in constant stress and never fully relaxed how are we able to gauge how much stress is really in our lives? We must bring awareness to the way our mind and body respond to a certain situation, and then be able to release the emotion (anger, frustration, anxiety, etc) or physiological response (increased blood pressure, heart rate, etc) as soon as it occurs.

Our bodies are our instruments, our minds are the remote, the breath and central nervous system program and connect the two.  Think of stress and relaxation as a continuum, the breath is how you regulate between the two. It is important to have a wide capacity for both stress and relaxation. To know stress is to know peace.

So you may now be asking, “Great, so I need to use my breath more. How do I incorporate this into my every day life?”

It is simple. Begin by placing your hand over your belly button, THINK about expanding the belly button into your hand and gently press the belly button in on the exhale, image you are using your abdominal muscles to press the air out from the bottom of the lungs. The lungs can be filled up like balloons, it starts by filling up the deepest part of the balloon, expanding in all directions till it reaches it capacity, at the top, the point of entry for the air.

shallow vs full breathing

This may not happen right away, you may get frustrated because the air just goes into your chest, you will have to THINK about bringing the air into the belly. After a few or many tries, at that exact moment when you are able to breathe into your hand, finally, something will click, you will become aware, and you will have control. Autopilot turned OFF.

To hear more about deep belly breathing watch the video in my previous post HERE

To Live Arete

The thought of arete may bring varying images or meanings to mind, whether it is a sharp ridge of a mountain or the act of living up to your highest human potential; It is the essence of pure excellence one may strive for in this life time. When you strive to live a life arete, you are living on the edge, on this edge you are unafraid to fall, knowing that you will only be brought up higher. It is not a life of mediocrity nor is it a life of mindless living. It is about being brave in the face of adversity. In Homeric times it was neither masculine nor feminine. It was the true essence of you beyond what this physical world can see. In society we define ones potential based on their physical form, segregating those who are thought to be unworthy or weak. Men from women; Rich from poor. Forgetting that inside, we are all one.

Whether you are an Olympic athlete, stay at home mom, doctor, or janitor; you all have the opportunity to live a life arete. You must take a hold of this life that you were given, good or bad, rich or poor, fat or skinny, and embrace the challenges, conditions, and each opportunity as though it was your last.

Live your life arete.