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Watching Mind...Watching Self...Watching Others

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran
edited May 2016 in Meditation

Yesterday I attended a workshop on "Stress Management" (It's part of the ongoing training workshops put on by the federation/organisation of which the community service I work/volunteer for is part of and all advisors/employees have to attend)...

The work we do can (if one lets it) be quite stressful, having to deal with our client's creditors, on the client's behalf relieving the client (who is already under quite a lot of stress/pressure) of the burden of having to face what could be at times, an hostile/ aggressive environment of being hassled with... "Give me the money!...Give me the money!" (money that the client can ill afford to part with at present or their children would go short, ie, no money to put food on the table etc etc ) I guess one could say we "Take on the suffering of others"....our clients no longer have the burden of being hassled, the advisors have taken on this burden, giving the client some relief...

The workshop was interesting, we shared what we often found stressful and what methods we found helped to relieve the stress...

Over the years I've found meditation and Dharma practice, greatly helps in identifying signs of stress allowing a quick nipping of it in the bud before it gets out of hand ie, by removing 'self' from the equation, no 'self' involvement, meaning at the end of the day regardless the outcome, I don't take the work home with me, that is, worry or lose sleep over it...ie, Dharma practice helps to replace negative distressors with positive "Eustress "

Anyhow some of the comments in the workshop got me thinking about the fickle-mind syndrome that many people are conditioned with (not knowing anything different) and continue to create the karmic patterns that keep them in the loop....

The mind observing the mind at working is quite fascinating (be it fleeting) ...ie, the comings and goings of thoughts, feelings, emotions, the ups & downs, the pushes & pulls, the aversions & desires...all in a brief space of time on our friend the cushion...

And off the cushion, this observation might continue on a larger scale, when interacting with other emotional beings as they go about life in a fluctuating state, one moment attached to happiness and joy and the next to sadness and anxiety and everything in between...each attachment fed by a force sense of a permanently abiding self which attempts to cling to the flow of the impermanent ever changing experience ....

Does your 'have cushion-mind will travel', travel with you throughout your day ? (Ie, being mindful of the signs of stress approaching and channelling the energy to somewhere/place positive)
Or is it a case of 'out of sight, out of cushion-mind' ? (where stress is allowed to run rampant, running its course)

Nutshell question:

What methods do you use to help prevent/alleviate stress ?

lobster

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    Does your 'have cushion-mind will travel', travel with you throughout your day?

    Mostly yes. Without it I would be just another la-la land Buddhist.

    What methods do you use to help prevent/alleviate stress?

    • attention on the breath
    • attention to the present being/situation
    • attention to arisings

    In other words, 'mindfulness'.

    Shoshinpegembara
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I find exercise works well. Love to go for a long cycle ride when things look like they are getting on top of me. Being properly tired is tends to slow me down.

    Or a shower. Sometimes an extra shower in the day will clear my thinking right up. A bath would work even better, but unfortunately I don't have one.

    And reggae music. I enjoy the old Bob Marley concerts on YouTube, I listen to them as I am falling asleep.

    And very occasionally I sing. I like gospel songs, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is a particular favorite.

    BunksShoshin
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I like singing too - I find my life stress free when I sing while driving. I think of other things like the ocean or birds or imagining the sound of a running stream over the rocks, etc.

    Shoshin
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Thanks for the post @Shoshin.
    I am having a busy week at work right now (hence the reason I am posting at 4am!)
    During this period I don't sleep particularly well and find it hard to leave work at work.
    Yesterday I noticed stress and negative thoughts arising in my mind occasionally. I normally have fruit sitting on my desk and I noticed how I would reach for it automatically when these thoughts arose. I wasn't hungry. It was just my auto response to these feelings.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Thanks you all for your comments... and you're welcome @Bunks ...

    At the workshop the following approaches were mentioned : being out in nature (we are fortunate to live on an island with lots of bush walks and beaches), exercise, (walking running, biking), swimming, listening to music, talking about, reading, warm bath, eating,(comfort food) drinking (alcohol) and smoking,(tobacco) were some of the ways participants said helps them to cope with stress...

    La la @lobster :wink: ...I couldn't agree more...that is, bringing ones practice off the cushion and into everyday life experience...."Mindfulness" which help one to nip the symptoms in the bud with an antidote, before they take root....

    @Kerome the manager at work is into mountain biking and running, as a means of stress relief... in the past she had suffered from depression ...

    @silver do you mean using imagination to occupy the mind with a distraction ie, like visualisation ?

    @Bunks comfort eating seems to be a common approach to stress relief, however many turn to junk food, which can just make the situation worse....At least you have healthy comfort food....What would happen if you resisted the temptation to reach out for the piece of fruit?

    For me, what also helps to eliminate the signs/symptoms of stress, is when I'm having to deal with creditors over the phone or in person, I'm aware that they too are in Samsara and are bound by the laws of karma, (ie, in one way or other, they are suffering too- they might be having a crap day) so I'm 'always' polite and telling them how grateful I am for their co operation, (even if they haven't been forthcoming with assistance needed) and wishing them a nice day (and meaning it sincerely)...So at the end of the day, I walk out of the office with a smile and a peaceful mind. A quick body scan from head to toe, is also a way to bring body and mind back into the here and now....
    It's like I have


    ...has a mantra, which is on autopilot and plays throughout the day :)

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Shoshin: @silver do you mean using imagination to occupy the mind with a distraction ie, like visualisation ?

    I guess like most people, I often daydream and it happens automatically, and sometimes when I catch wind of a growing negative like sad or anger, I do it then, as well.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @silver said:
    @Shoshin: @silver do you mean using imagination to occupy the mind with a distraction ie, like visualisation ?

    I guess like most people, I often daydream and it happens automatically, and sometimes when I catch wind of a growing negative like sad or anger, I do it then, as well.

    Like giving monkey mind a specific task to perform, which draws it away from those negative thought patterns...where it begins to work on creating the image of a safe, calm, place...Where you can ride out the storm, so to speak.....

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I guess like most people, I often daydream and it happens automatically, and sometimes when I catch wind of a growing negative like sad or anger, I do it then, as well.

    Like giving monkey mind a specific task to perform, which draws it away from those negative thought patterns...where it begins to work on creating the image of a safe, calm, place...Where you can ride out the storm, so to speak.....

    Yep. Sometimes I forget to do it, but when I do catch myself going into a downward spin, it helps immensely to do that or to reminisce about happier times, like when I owned my horse, especially.

  • What methods do you use to help prevent/alleviate stress ?

    This works if one is not having to do anything at the moment. Just be fully opened to what is happening at this moment without getting caught up eg. noticing breathing, sounds, sensations, emotions, body posture and thinking. After a while these happenings fade into the background. Then the gaps between those happenings are noticed. That is where stress is absent. The longer the gaps, the longer there is the absence of stress.

  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    I deal with stress and negative thoughts on a daily basis. This combined with the chaos of Adult ADHD is a huge part of the reason I have been magnetized to Buddhism. I desperately needed a place to escape to without having to go anywhere. When I'm feeling particularly poorly, will usually go hide in the bathroom and do a short meditation or breathing excercise. It's safe, secluded, and quiet there, and no one can interrupt me! :p

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    I deal with stress and negative thoughts on a daily basis. This combined with the chaos of Adult ADHD is a huge part of the reason I have been magnetized to Buddhism. I desperately needed a place to escape to without having to go anywhere. When I'm feeling particularly poorly, will usually go hide in the bathroom and do a short meditation or breathing excercise. It's safe, secluded, and quiet there, and no one can interrupt me! :p

    Understood. :heart:

    Stress relief and allaying negative thinking can be done in a variety of ways. For example a lot of stress hormones are located in the bodies flight or fight mechanism. Building up a physical tensing of the body and ... then releasing ... will simulate this animal response and thereby relax the mind. Running or dancing on the spot is sometimes suggested ...
    http://greatist.com/happiness/40-ways-relax-5-minutes-or-less

    La la @lobster :wink: ...I couldn't agree more...that is, bringing ones practice off the cushion and into everyday life experience...."Mindfulness" which help one to nip the symptoms in the bud with an antidote, before they take root....

    ... it is true that meditation has side effects but that takes time, regularity and persistence. For example patching our processing belongs more to behavioural psychology. Yes we might call it mindful BUT not the awareness which is a non interfering form of attention ...

    what @pegembara said is worth repeating

    Just be fully opened to what is happening at this moment without getting caught up eg. noticing breathing, sounds, sensations, emotions, body posture and thinking. After a while these happenings fade into the background. Then the gaps between those happenings are noticed. That is where stress is absent. The longer the gaps, the longer there is the absence of stress.

    We iz Buddhists. We haz plan!

    RuddyDuck9
  • @pegembara said:> What methods do you use to help prevent/alleviate stress ?

    Ice cream! :p

    ShoshinRuddyDuck9pegembara
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