Experience Your Life Blog

A recent experience reminded me of theDaily Stress power of paying attention to the challenges that present themselves in our daily lives. I was on my way to the store, going over my grocery list in my mind as I drove. As I pulled into the busy parking lot, I saw a space and pulled in to park. I opened my car door and a man started barking obscenities, ranting furiously that I had taken his parking space.

At this point, as in any moment that involves the presence of intense emotion, I had a choice...

 

I could mirror the rage of the man screaming at me or I could remain centered and detached; acknowledging his need while keeping myself from internalizing his anger. I chose to stay centered, told the man that I was sorry, and offered to move my car so that he could have the space. My calmness caught him off guard. He got very quiet, said that it wasn't necessary and walked away.

Many of us carry around thoughts of fear and anger that affect the way we interact with the world. At many times during the day, we may find ourselves challenged by traffic congestion, angry bosses, family tension and the urban syndrome of feeling perpetually late; causing us to live in a permanent cycle of fight or flight.

It is a constant low-level fear, which we often describe simply as stress. This stress manifests itself not only in our emotional response to our lives, but also in our bodies, affecting our physical health.

By learning to pay attention. mindfulness and equanimity can help us balance our emotions and melt away the layers of stress that wreak havoc on our minds, bodies and relationships.

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