Question: when do people become concerned about managing stress?
It seems as though they start thinking about it when their life is not going as well as they would want. But that is not the best time to consider stress management, as this stress management course is not a quick fix!
I believe that managing stress is primarily managing attitude...you will read this phrase every lesson: Stress management is an attitude! This attitude determines how you react to events in your life-but I am getting ahead of my lessons...
Research has shown that to change one's altitude (or thinking, for that matter), requires two things to happen:
- A person must learn to think about old situations in a new way, and
- A person must be willing to open up and enlarge his/her frame of reference; the process of mindfulness
Mindlessness is rooted in mind sets, unquestioning attitudes formed when we first hear certain information, information about which we already have an opinion. This results of mindlessness is continuing to think the same way, no matter what the situation:
- Imagine: you are at your mothers' house for dinner and she is preparing the pot roast for cooking. She cuts off a small slice before putting it into the pot. You ask her why. She doesn't know why and calls her mother, from whom she learned the technique. Your grandmother explains: "That's the only way it would fit into the pot."
- Mindlessness about how to cook a pot roast isn't so bad but mindlessness can be destructive when the mind set is about a person or a situation. When we are certain we know our jobs, mates, etc, we can miss the small changes or differences that continually occur. If we always do the same things the same way, we get the same results and our progress is limited!
It is human to have a mind set, a certain "point of view" about things. As an example (albeit a bit stretched), a cow is a streak to a rancher, a sacred object of worship to a Hindu, and a collection of genes to a molecular biologist.
Like the cow, every idea, person or object has the potential to be many things, depending on the viewer's perspective. Unless you are mindful of your perspective on a certain type of behavior and its meaning, you are unlikely to change that behavior, no matter how detrimental it is to you.
A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."
I ask that you keep an open mind about the information you are about to learn and that you take the assignments seriously.
Each lesson will end with a Final Word, such as the following:
- A new student approached the Zen master and asked how he should prepare himself for his training. “Think of me as a bell,” the master explained. “Give me a soft tap, and you will get a tiny ping. Strike hard, and you'll receive a loud, resounding peal.”
Stress Management is an Attitude...
I am ready to teach, if you are ready to learn!