We all live pretty frenetic lives- even on a subconscious level we are anticipating the next thing to do on our daily lists, hence the reason many claim to be too stressed to even relax. I know a couple, for example, who take regular holidays abroad (which cost a small fortune) just to be able to escape the mad, demanding pace in their professional and personal lives. For them, Heaven is a remote beach away from everyone and everything. When they're back in the fray of family and work commitments, they need sleeping pills every night. The mad cycle where the mind and body never get a real rest can be ultimately detrimental to our health. Sure, lying on a beach sipping your umpteenth piña colada may sound fabulous but it clearly doesn't solve the problem of how to cope with life without losing your mind and damaging your health in the process.
Why not try these tests to see how stressed and preoccupied you really are? The first test is to look at the picture below. As you may know by now, I'm a nature fiend- if I feel a cold coming on or I'm depressed, I put on my walking boots whatever the weather. I feel better for walking in the fresh air and preferably in isolation- a very dense wood with the sound of birdsong and where I can smell the seasons works best for me. Finding moments of peace and quiet enable me to keep my head together and banish the blues. Let's face it, life is not easy- or put another way, life is hard if you think too much (hence the reason that mind-altering drugs, too much alcohol and cigarettes are so popular).
Take a good look at the photo. See how long you can look at it and if those dew drops hold any fascination for you. If you can lose yourself staring at this evocative photo, your mind is probably not overloaded with anxiety and stress. If you can barely hold your gaze for five seconds...whoaaaa! Slow down!
In my book, How to be Happy, The Little Book of Peace for the Soul, I write about the sound of silence- the ability to think of nothing. For me it's meditation on the go and something that I can squeeze in no matter where I am. Try looking at these videos. One is of birdsong at dusk as I walked my hound one evening. Just close your eyes and listen to the birds. You should feel calmer and more centred by focusing on the birds' evening melodies. In the process your head will be emptied automatically of all the other stuff that is weighing you down. Try it.
Birdsong at dusk
This second video was made in my garden one summer as I was captivated by a leaf hanging off a filament of a spider's web. The leaf dangling in the wind and actually dancing was somehow mesmerising. The same principle applies- when you focus on the leaf, the computer in your head is forced to shut down. The end result is you feel lighter, less wound up and not as stressed.
Best of luck! And peace!
Photo and videos copyright SvD.