Today we would like you to meditate on the idea that stress begets stress.

What does this mean?

It is very simple.  When you think stressful thoughts — thoughts of fear, anxious projections about the future, “I’m not doing enough,” “I don’t have enough,” “Life is unfair to me,” and so on — this in turn creates stress within the physical body.  Your adrenal glands are activated.  You tense up.  This is felt throughout the physical body.

This usually makes things worse.  Physical tension makes it difficult to think clearly.  You become more impulsive, more quick to anger.  You become reactive.  You make poor decisions.  Sustained physical tension also leads to exhaustion — so you feel tired, and therefore less able to do things.

So stress begets stress.

If you wake up in the morning with stressful, anxious thoughts churning in your brain, it is likely that you may go on to experience a stressful, upsetting day.  If your physical stress results in poor decision-making, or flashes of anger, you will experience this very directly.

Everything will seem to feed and reinforce the stress.  Your children will irritate you.  You will be miserable driving in traffic.  You may even get a speeding ticket.  It will be “one of those days.”

So how can you free yourself from the negative feedback loop?

Stress begets stress.

Relaxation begets relaxation.

The more you can take time to relax in the course of your day, the more your day will feel pleasant and relaxed.

When you relax your mind, you relax your body.

When your body is relaxed, you think more clearly, make better decisions, and remain calmer when stressful situations do arise.

You sleep better at night, and so wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed.

You won’t get the speeding ticket, because you won’t be running late, and speeding.

Relaxation is absolutely essential to proper function.  You will get more done, more efficiently, when you are relaxed.

Stress slows everything down.  It is like covering your mind and body with a layer of sticky tar.  Everything feels bad.  Everything is perceived through the layer of gunk, or slime.

Relaxation scrapes off the slime.  You feel fresh and clear.  You perceive reality with greater clarity.

How do you relax?  Through meditation.  Spending time outdoors.  Doing gentle, grounding physical exercise.  Being around animals.  Listening to music that makes you feel good.  Dancing.  Singing.  Taking a bath.  Getting a massage.

All these activities are worth their weight in gold.

Anything you can do to increase relaxation and decrease stress in your life is worth its weight in gold.

Stress begets stress.

Relaxation begets relaxation.