Insights into Stress

Each of us meets an individual world. That is why stress is also so personal.

One person is afraid of flying and another does it for a hobby. One person copes with thirty children and another can't manage one. One enjoys the quiet and another is bored. She seems to have tireless energy and enthusiasm while he spends any amount of time saying how busy he is. When we are unable to cope with what another can thrive on, this signals a need for personal growth.

There are three major causes of stress.

Painful face from mediaeval Lincoln Cathedral

Cheerful face from mediaeval Lincoln Cathedral

Cheerfulness and pain: faces from mediaeval Lincoln Cathedral
  • The first of these is when we are out of tune with our environment, with nature and the natural world.
  • The second is when we are out of tune with others.
  • The third is when we are out of tune with our own spirit, the questing impulse towards self-fulfilment, self-actualisation and self-transcendence through the divine.

5 exercises for equanimity:

  1. If you can learn to look at your feelings, becoming aware of them, in an interested way, it will help you not to be swept off your feet. Think, whether of good or bad fortune: This too will pass.
  2. If someone or something upsets you, rather than assuming that you deserve to feel upset, look at the feeling of being upset, and find balance.
  3. Practice thinking objectively about a person or situation that is upsetting you, learning to look with calmness at your feeling.
  4. Use good observation to help separate what actually happened from what you assume is happening.
  5. Consider the thoughts you have that determine your emotional reactions. The cause of emotional stress is less what the other person has done than how you react to it. For example, how I translate the actions of others into thoughts determines what I think has happened and this in turn affects my emotions. If I react with understanding, tolerance, openness, if I have an open mind as to what is happening or the motives, if I suspend judgement, then I reduce the incidence of experience that generates negative emotion.