Stress happens

We can't eliminate all the stress in our lives - it just isn't possible - and actually, having a little stress in our lives is good for us.  Research on "hormesis" shows that the body responds well to mild stressful situations.  However what we need to do, instead of trying to banish stress, is accept that there will be stress in our lives and develop better coping skills to deal with it.  Skills you can call on everyday.

Most of these skills involve some mind-body connection, cultivating mindfulness and learning to pay attention to the present moment and not dwelling on the past.

Below you will see "The tree of comtemplative practices" which offers suggestions on different types of things you can do to reduce stress.  We are all different.  For some of us, using stillness and meditation will work.  For others, that is never relaxing, so maybe dance or aikido, getting moving, would help.

Maybe music and singing is your way of relaxing, or doing volunteer work and taking your mind off your own problems.

But don't wait until you are crumbling under stress before you consider what you need to do - find something now that can help you cope with stress.  Choose whatever resonants and feels right for you, and then practice it every day.   If necessary, you may need to find someone to guide you and teach you how to do it effectively.  Before you are in crisis is the time to do that.  But the practice is key too.  Even if you only do your chosen method for a couple of minutes a day, the repetition will really help.

Your body will love you for it - it will change from being under the activation of the sympathetic nervous system - the fight and flight mode - to the autonomic nervous system (ANS).  When we are under the control of the ANS, that's when the body can work at healing itself and restoring.

Start practicing (practising) a contemplative practice!

Camerata Retreat

We had our choir retreat this Saturday - and the perfect weather for it.

It was a lovely day with it warm enough to eat both lunch and dinner outside  - and then time for a little snuggle under the blankets by the fire to watch the stars come out.

A lovely day and the food went down well. I'll be sharing some of those recipes in the next few days.

Now we are all ready to sing together  at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco on Thursday evening and a late night Easter Vigil service Saturday night.

PS Looking back at these photos - it looks like all we did was lounge around - but actually we did sing!!!  in between our social time :-D