Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Dealing with stress.

I’m not particularly stressed today, but I have been – what with not yet finding a job, uni work on my mind, creative projects being pushed out etc etc. And I know a few other people who are feeling pretty pressured at the moment. Sometimes it’s difficult to deal with.

I am grateful to have learned a little about Mindfulness, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, and it’s been a help during some of my more fraught moments over the last few weeks.

Just to expand a little, so often we’re focussed on something else: our destination, what we’re going to do tomorrow, the jobs that we’re not getting done right now. I guess I sound a little like Yoda: ‘Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing.’

We can miss out on so much of life in this way. Earlier this year, I got stuck in traffic at rush hour near Heathrow airport and I was pretty vexed about it, until I remembered about Mindfulness. I started thinking about where I was, navigating London rush hour, something I’d heard a lot about but never done. Suddenly, it was actually quite exciting.

Eventually I made it out of London and onto the M40, where I still kept focussing on the job in hand – driving my car. What did it feel like? The steering wheel; the sound of my tyres on the tarmac; the other cars nearby me. What was the weather like? And as I looked to the sky, to the horizon, I was treated to a beautiful sunset. I felt privileged to be there.

If I hadn’t been stuck in traffic, I’d never have seen that. If I hadn’t stopped to consider the now, but remained frustrated, stressing about something I could essentially do nothing about, I’d probably never have noticed the warm orange sun melting into the distance, leaving purple clouds behind...

And the very act of stopping, remembering to just breathe, taking in my surroundings, was in itself calming. I enjoyed my journey in the end, and perhaps these techniques can help us all when we start to feel things are getting on top of us.

Though I still won’t be rushing to plough through London’s tea-time traffic again...

1 comment:

  1. Nice one Martin
    Mindfulness is a discipline worth cultivating whether we are stressed or not. It's the main principle that I base my listening ministry on, have a look at ('taking a pause' in Latin)
    Hope the job thing works out soon, but keep mindful for now!