Compilation (various artist)
Stress: it's a factor that none of us can hope to avoid. Sure, I've devoted a large portion of my life towards running away from it, but as with its close cousins heartache and loss, stress is simply an inescapable inevitability. As such, the acceptance that one must deal with it as one must with every other facet of existence can actually lead to an overall reduction in the adverse side effects normally associated with stress. Thus, we are faced with a paradox, but one that can ultimately be manipulated if not controlled outright.
It is theorized (correctly, I believe) that stress is created when the challenges we face begin to overwhelm us. As such, it is the opposite of boredom, which arises only when one is not adequately challenged. In between these two intolerable extremes lies flow. When one is flowing through life, the challenges are surmountable and become interesting, never tedious. It is through flow that one finds passion, the basis of meaningful existence.
It is critically important that when a person finds themself overwhelmed with the peculiar negative energy that only evolves out of stress, that they step back, disassociate, breathe and finally refocus their energy. You see, unlike with anger, stress is often not a choice, but it can be coped with using the simple mechanisms I just mentioned. Once one makes the decision to remove oneself from stress-induced trauma by means of re-evaluating or re-prioritizing their immediate challenges, they may see that life is not so chaotic after all.
It is often possible to actually lessen or even eliminate stress before it starts. The key to preventative stress management is acknowledgement. If a person is logical and clear-headed in their daily interactions, there is a good chance that they will not only acknowledge the onset of stress as it begins to affect their psyche, but they may actually (consciously or subconsciously) employ anti-stress measures at the outset of these emotions in order to keep their cool and maintain control.
One very groovy method for alleviating stressful thoughts is reflecting on nature in all Her beauty. It's been observed by many a philosopher throughout history that when man is in the grips of nature's radiance, all Earthly concerns fall by the wayside. Much in the way of great art and music has been achieved while its creators were enraptured under nature's gentle spell.
Modern studies in the field of neuroscience have actually dealt with questions regarding stress, boredom and flow. One of the bigger questions humankind has often wondered about has to do with personality types. For example, how is it that children of similar ethnocentric and societal makeup, born under seemingly similar circumstances, can grow so different from one another later in life? This argument is often referred to as "nature vs. nurture", as doctors, scientists and philosophers have long argued over whether parental upbringing or societal norms have more overall impact on human development.
While this question will likely never be answered to anyone's satisfaction, medical surveys conducted by neurologists have yielded some fantastic insights into brain development. For example, Dr. Richard Davidson, who surveyed numerous individuals for his book The Emotional Life of Your Brain, monitored their cerebral activity using CAT scans and found that overall the participants with the highest degree of adult brain development (or neuroplasticity) were those who actively partook in both meditation and aerobic exercise. The ancient practice of yoga has also been found to be extremely beneficial to both physiological and psychological well-being.
Taking the previous factors into account, it becomes self-evident that the life best led for most people is one that contains a significant assortment of challenges, but one that is also tempered with an appropriate amount of both relaxation and introspection. Socrates himself is famously quoted as saying, "the unexamined life is not worth living", and as time passes on his wisdom surely continues to resonate.
The pace of the modern world can be exceedingly hectic, and as such it is increasingly important for all persons from all walks of life to remember that stress, while a great motivator, can be toxic in large amounts. What is most important, however, is not what you do to alleviate yourself from your daily burdens, but only that you find a way that works for you.
We sincerely hope that this new compilation, along with its upcoming counterparts, will help you to achieve your flow!