The new year has begun and with it so have the set of resolutions that many have, unfortunately, probably already broken. Many resolve to get in shape. Many wish to read more. People may aspire to volunteer more and still others opt for the faithful and true resolution — spending more time with family.
Now while all of these ideas are great, consider how many of them are physical. Asking the body to perform some physical task sounds good, but what about the mental side of life? While our muscles toil away with performing tasks seemingly so triumphant, we fail to think about the goo between our ears. We don’t think about handling the mental and emotional stress of work, family, and societal issues for a moment, yet we tell ourselves if we just keep doing something physical, the mind will follow suit and we’ll achieve it.
The unemployment rate here in Minnesota sits at 4.8%, so I have about a 95% chance of writing to an employed audience. When at work, do you ever feel stressed? “Of course,” you say. “Work and stress are almost synonymous.” But why? Why do we allow ourselves to remain fettered by a gnawing on the mind to toil over some project or management of work? We work all day, feel our mind and its faculties crush under the work load, drive home in a semi-vegetated state, sit on the couch until bed, and go to bed knowing you’re going to do it all over in the morning?
Consider children for example. Children don’t know what stress is. Children live in the moment, treating every second as if it is beautiful and sacred. Children see life only as it is, or rather as it should be — simple. No man is guaranteed tomorrow, so why worry about it? Is your health worth sacrificing for a little money? Then when your health fails, does it make sense to spend that money on trying to improve your health?
In short, stress is a form of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of unacceptance. Learning to release this fear, facing it straight-on and destroying it, will lead to seeing life through the eyes of a child once more. I offer no solution for conquering fear. No secret recipe for living a happy, stress-free life. But a deep breath and good cup of coffee are always good starts.
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