The Joy in Small things
There is a virus within a virus and its name is Fear.
The problem with this kind of virus is that it infects in an equally insidious way as CoVid 19.
It can be easy to get caught up in anxiety and fear.
Then stress levels go up and cortisol is running round your system, which reduces immunity. Although, a small disclaimer, reading this could make you feel more stressed, especially in these times of heightened awareness to a pandemic.
Most of us do know this.
We are a pretty sophisticated society. Traditional stress busters are things like mindfulness, meditation, yoga or similar exercise routines that allow the body to relax, letting the parasympathetic nervous system kick in, which brings a reduction in stress.
There is a lot of information about this out there
Simply put, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in after the fight or flight response has happened. If this system is compromised as in PTSD or high ongoing stress and anxiety levels, then its function is reduced.
The good news is there are some simple practices that you can do to reduce stress levels in the body.
I would term this the Joy in Small things.
Like breathing. There are a couple of simple exercises from a fabulous book by Tarthang Tulku, called Gesture of Balance. Tarthang Tulku is a Tibetan Llama, teacher and extraordinary communicator of the nature of mind, through a variety of extensive works, found in Dharma Publishing.
- When you are in a very emotional or highly excitable state (anxiety can do this too). Sit down and breathe softly and gently. Do not pay attention to your emotions (key instruction, because it increases the emotional state you are in).
- Just follow your breath and its rhythm. Following your breath – from the nose and mouth, watch and feel the breath as it goes into your body and then out again. Try this for 5 minutes and keep extending it to 10 or 15 minutes. This is also the beginning of meditation.
- If you can go into a garden (if raining – look at the garden) then sit there and look at the beauty around you. Breathe it in. Feel the sunshine on your face, not idly, really feel its warmth, notice how it makes you feel. Take in the plants and bird song. Sit there and simply enjoy it.
- If you don’t have a garden or it really is a miserable day. Visualise a beautiful place you have been too or make a garden up in your mind. A magical garden that you can wonder in and savour. Take it all in. The colours, sounds. Touch and feel and smell.
These simple exercises bring balance back to the body mind. The cycle of stress is broken.
We are practiced as a society to have a critical eye, rather than a joyful eye on what we do. Its important with the enforced hibernation that we are under, to look at things joyfully. Even the list of jobs we can now do around the home.
Shift the attitude to one of joy.
How do you do that?
It’s not rocket science, honest.
So simply done.
A choice in each moment.
Just choose to have a joyful eye, and see the difference it makes to your outlook.