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Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies

 

 

 

A Personal Program for Stress Mastery

 

By George A. Boyd ©1991

Are you experiencing too much stress? You probably are if you:

  • Feel emotionally overwhelmed

  • Sleep a full night's sleep and still don't feel rested, or if you have problems falling asleep.

  • Have muscle cramps and tension in your neck, back and shoulders.

  • Feel irritable, over-sensitive, and have a problem controlling your temper.

If you do not deal with the symptoms of stress at this acute stage, you will eventually develop chronic stress.

Chronic stress may contribute to the development of migraine headaches, ulcers, spastic colon, indigestion, high blood pressure, and heart problems.

Chronic stress develops because you do not allow your organism to renew itself, and the demands you place on your body exceed its capacity to accommodate.

Stress Management

General methods that will help you manage stress include:

  • Organize your life.

  • Manage your time.

  • Say no to commitments that will require more of your time and energy.

  • Exercise regularly, especially slow stretching and breathing exercises like Hatha Yoga, dancing or Tai Chi.

  • Meditate two to three times daily.

  • Eat nourishing foods and supplement with vitamins and herbs.

  • Practice relaxation on a regular basis.

  • Treat yourself to a soak in a hot tub or a full body massage.

  • Play and laugh every day.

  • Surrender what you cannot deal with to your Higher Power.

  • Ask for help, and delegate some of your burden, if possible, to other people.

  • Be here now, deal with the issues of the moment and cease worrying about problems of the past and future.

A Stress Prescription

There are two aspects of stress management with which you must deal.

The first aspect is stress reduction. Stress reduction means that you lower current stressors in your life so that you do not feel so overwhelmed and fatigued.

The second aspect of stress management is stress prevention. This means you plan and set up in advance ways to avoid stress in your daily life.

Stress Reduction

A simple Stress Reduction program may include the following methods to help you cope with stress:

  • Relax daily, at least once every day, after work or strenuous activity.

  • Exercise daily, and include in your exercise breathing and stretching, (such as are used in Hatha Yoga or dancing).

  • Meditate morning and evening.

  • Organize your work space, your living environment, and your time.

  • Delegate whenever you can to other people.

  • Say no!

  • Use, as permitted by your physician, stress formula vitamins and herbs to help your body cope with stress.

  • Enjoy whenever possible a hot tub soak or an invigorating massage.

  • Eat nourishing, wholesome foods. Eliminate junk foods from your diet.

  • Stop or reduce the use of alcohol and cigarettes, which place strain on your organs.

Stress Prevention

Stress Prevention becomes possible when you are able to look out in advance for the things that create stress for you, and navigate around them.

First, you will need to begin to watch your reactions to the situations and people in your everyday life. Notice what upsets you and makes you irritated.

You then can consider ways to steer clear of these incidents. You may learn some of these coping techniques from reading self help books, or from the examples of socially adept friends, or seek guidance in a therapy or a
self-help group.

Another essential factor in stress prevention is to take private time for your self. This is something you must demand for your self from the people in our life.

Guard your private time jealously, and make sure that no one invades the sanctum of your personal space and time. You have the right to be "non-available" until whatever time you choose.

Taking stress breaks during the day, where you stretch, walk, play, laugh, or take a cat nap will keep stress from building up within you.

As you come to know what your limits are, you will feel more comfort in saying no to commitments that will demand more of your time and energy.

Evaluate whether the cost to your organism is worth whatever benefit you hope to derive from the commitment. You may also consider deferring or postponing the commitment to a later time when you will have the time to deal with it.

You may also consider the costs of leading a sophisticated lifestyle. You may find that you can dispense with many of the activities and expenses that have become part of your current lifestyle through social and professional "obligation."

Much that is transmitted to you as a cultural requirement may actually be entirely optional. Consider living a simpler lifestyle.

You may not need a mansion, for a townhouse may be completely suitable. You may consider buying a practical car instead of a luxury car. All of the expenses you create for your self may not be worth the extra stress it generates to be able to afford them.

Taking vacations in the beauty and quiet of Nature can also relieve stress. Spending time in Nature allows you to re-attune with the natural rhythms, and find renewal.

Spending time in a forest, scuba diving under the sea, splashing in the surf, river rafting, camping and hiking in the wilderness are ways to commune with Nature, and let go of the stresses of daily life.

The Stages of Stress Mastery

There are four stages of stress mastery. These stages are:

The first stage of stress mastery can be described as your basic daily stress management work. This first level of stress mastery assists you to cope with stress.

This may comprise from 50 to 70 per cent of the actual stress you experience. This type of stress is relieved by simple relaxation, exercise, stretching, breathing, and yoga.

The second stage of stress mastery involves the practice of Centering. Centering allows you to detach from identification with feeling stressed and plagued with the demands of others.

Instead of feeling victimized, or at effect of forces in your environment, it gives you a greater sense of being at cause, or in control in your life. It represents a shift from ego to Self.

This allows you to accommodate the stressors in your life, to deal with them with a greater sense of poise and personal mastery, with humor and a mature philosophy.

The stress that is encountered at this deeper level may comprise between 15 to 35 per cent of the stress that you experience.

The third stage of stress mastery is called Transcendence, and it brings you into contact with your Higher Self, and Superconscious Mind.

Working progressively down to this level, you may expect to release about 95 per cent of the stress you have accumulated.

Accessing this level of Mind, you also may liberate your resources of creativity and inspiration, and tap the hidden gifts and abilities that lay obscured by the chatter of your surface mind.

The fourth stage of stress mastery is called Essence or Core Work. The subtlest five per cent of your stress is bound up in what is called unconscious mind impressions, or karma. The most powerful methods of meditation are used at this level to bring about Mastery and Transformation.

People who are able to work at this subtlest level are referred to as Initiates. They can actually work with the forces of mind and Spirit to speed up their spiritual evolution and effectively dissolve the unconscious mind impressions that create obstacles in their personal life and on their spiritual journey.

Initiates remove stress by pulling out its roots, and access the deepest reservoirs of peace, tranquility and spiritual ecstasy within themselves.

You can begin today to work with stress, by incorporating stress reduction and stress prevention practices into your every day life.

You do not need to be a victim of stress, if you will take proactive steps to reduce and prevent stress, and learn methods to cope with the stressors that are around you.

 

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