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There Is More to Stress Than We Think

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Stress is making daily headlines in almost all international newspapers, online magazines, lectures, new age publications, TV and other media. It's either the fear of not having enough of it or that somebody can take it away from us that creates stress. It can be the lack of money, job security, freedom, health and relationship. Most often it's a combination of it.

Stress became a synonym of saying that we are living a busy life, that things are OK but not quite balanced. No red flag will go up when we say that we had a stressful meeting. No red flag goes up when 14-year-old students are still sitting over homework at 11 p.m. Stress became a part of our life -- no doubt -- and we were conditioned to believe that stress is part of success, part of our generation, part of our society.

Stress Is Systemic

Stress has an impact on our whole body. Imagine you have to make a sales pitch to a new and important client, or a presentation to the board of directors or a speech to your associates. Imagine you are in an interview -- your last shot at the can -- to get the job that feeds your family.

You woke up with a headache; you didn't sleep well, of course. The fear of failure kicked in at 4 a.m. Your palms are wet before the meeting, you feel sweaty all over, your mouth is dry like a desert. Your knees are shaking and you definitely don't look like a confident manager prospect.

Systemic means the effects of stress is all over your body.

Stress Is Leading to Aggression

What we don't realize is that acute and chronic stress changes your endocrine system, which can contribute to physical and psychological disturbances as anxiety, depression, and hostility, and to behaviors such as substance abuse, violent aggression, and criminal acts [Kenneth G. Walton. 2003].

My medical background is always telling me that treating the roots of the problem is better than just treating the symptoms. In other words, treating a fear-based environment starts with each of us and the awareness of how we react upon stressors (interviews, confrontation, conflicts, disputes, opening a letter from our lawyer, opening test results, etc.). We can learn how to become more resilient and how to reverse and remove our disturbances arising from stress.

If Stress Is Systemic, Love and Appreciation Are Too

We can learn to perfectly balance our body and become more coherent, with more clarity, compassion and a sense of control over our emotions and well-being. If our endocrine system stops producing the stress hormone cortisol it can begin to produce the "good feeling" hormone DHEA.

Now let's imagine that 4,000 or 8,500 people in a football or basketball stadium or along a race course with 15,000 runners or more are finding that perfect inner balance that athletes describe as being in "the zone" and we have the critical mass to create an environment of non-violence. A place of peace. If it gets too voodoo... here is some info:

John Hagelin, in his 1993 study conducted in Washington, D.C., showed the meditation effect in his experiment where 4,000 participants in a meditative or coherent state was associated with a lowering of the crime rate by 25 percent in the city.

David W. Orme-Johnson, et al, teaches us in his 2003 publication, "Preventing Terrorism and International Conflict," that terrorism activity declines by 72 percent and an average drop of 32 percent in international conflict can be reported during meditative assemblies.

Now what?

Athletes know all about the importance of their mental performance. The body is not the limiting factor anymore -- the mind is.

Athletes (and their mental coaches) can teach us how to calm our mind and get in a state of flow. How to achieve inner balance in the midst of turmoil. New gadgets are helping us to control our emotional state.

Your iPhone with the free app GPS for the Soul has the potential to be the game changer for our society, for our state of health and well-being, crime rates and violence.

If our athletes can teach us and we begin to learn and apply the tools and techniques to become coherent our light will move out darkness.

The Dalai Lama said, "If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation."

The question is: What we can do for our country and ourselves, not what the country can do for us.

For more by Dirk Stroda, click here.

For more on meditation, click here.

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