How To Avoid Stress By Staying in The Present Moment
The future is nothing but a fantasy or a daydream, also only occurring in our minds. In our minds we can create the most delightful scenes or our greatest nightmares, and reality will never be as we imagined it.
For example: You might have planned a romantic dinner for you and your partner and spent hours preparing and daydreaming about it. You know exactly how it is going to be, your partner is going to be so delighted and happy and greatly reward you for the effort you have made. Oh it's going to be so blissful.
Unfortunately when your partner gets home, there has been a big problem at work. The boss has been giving them a really hard time and they arrive home in a foul mood. They do not even notice how much effort you've gone to, gulp down dinner, and just want to drown out the day by having a drink and watching something mindless on the television.
After all the time you have spent preparing the meal and imagining how the evening is going to be, you feel let down, hurt, disappointed, uncared for and frustrated.
Depending on your way of dealing with your negative feelings, you will either silently resent your partner for ruining your evening. Or you will start an argument, telling them how much trouble you've gone to and how they don't appreciate anything you do.
After the day your partner has had, this is the last thing they want or need, and they will probably feel that you don't understand them or care about, or support them when they really need it.
There are actually a number of things that have led to your stress and unhappiness in the above scenario and a number of laws that can come into play to help you.
Firstly there are the Laws of Expectations and Non-Resistance. You were expecting the night and your partner to be a certain way and felt disappointed when they did not live up to the images in your mind. You could not accept that the night was not going as you wished it too. You were attached to having it be a certain way.
Then there is the Law of Giving and Receiving. You were expecting your partner to appreciate what you had done and what you were giving to them. In return you were expecting something back. You were expecting to receive gratitude, attention and affection.
However with the Law of the Present Moment you could have avoided all those traps. When we are fully in the present moment our minds are focused on what we are doing and not frantically jumping from the past to the future.
When we are focused on the task at hand, we do things for the joy of doing them, and not because we expect anything in return for our action. When we do this, even small and seemingly insignificant things can become acts of joy and beauty.
You do not do things for the end result. You do things for the simple act of doing them. You do not wash the dishes so you will have a clean kitchen. You wash the dishes for the art of washing the dishes. When done in this way, the dishes aren't something to be rushed through so you can go and do something else. It becomes a joyous event in itself. Your whole attitude changes, the dishes are no longer a chore but become a joy.
In our romantic dinner scenario above, if all the preparation had been done fully in the present moment, the day would have been spent joyously and not building up a fantasy of what the evening was going to be like. So when your partner arrived home you would be happy and relaxed and not full of expectations, anticipation and demands that the evening goes just as you planned.
Because you found joy in doing each task, as it needed to be done, and not rushed through them with your mind only on the end result, you will not be devastated when your partner comes in and doesn't notice the effort you have gone to. You will be far less likely to feel hurt and let down, you will still be able to enjoy the meal yourself. Instead of being angry and bitter towards your partner you will be able to be supportive in their time of stress. Your partner will feel that you are there for them when they need you most.
When we live in the world of daydreams, expectations and rushing through things, we tend to think that everything that happens revolves around us. We tend to take everything personally and get upset over things that really have nothing to do with us.
Whereas, if we can just learn to relax and enjoy the moment for what it is, we will naturally become happier and more accepting and less demanding ourselves. We will be able to see the other person's side of things and point of view, and this helps us to be more compassionate and understanding people.
This is an extract from Kerry-Ann Cox's new book "10 spiritual laws for stress reduction." Find out more about this life changing book at http://www.exaltedliving.com/stress.htm and learn great techniques to reduce your stress levels today.
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