Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stress

I listen frequently to podcasts about health, and the one thing I have noticed they all seem to have in common is the belief that stress is probably the greatest force in the decline of western health, and the increase in obesity.

They all recommend meditation, mindfulness, meditation, etc, as means to combat stress.

One doctor in a podcast I listened to today said, basically: "We don't want to heal just to take away a health issue, but so that the patient can go on to live his life as his best self. We are more than our bodies."

I don't know this doctor's faith, but he also emphasized that the greatest stress disturbance in our lives is loss and grief, especially the anticipation of the end of our own lives. He says that fear is behind much of our grief in losing a loved one: "This is going to happen to me someday."

He said we need to come to terms with, accept the reality, that all of us are going to die. He seemed to imply that we should live with the understanding that this life is not all there is. And, interestingly, he said that we should live in such as way as to make our ultimate death not the fearful, terrible thing that it often is in our minds. We should live in such a way that our death is seen as a doorway to hope fulfilled.

We have to avoid regretting the past because it is done and gone. We can't change it. We have to avoid fearing the future. It hasn't happened yet. It may not happen at all, but it most likely will happen in the way that we fear if we let fear guide us. We have to live the present moment, it is all that we have. It is our only real guarantee because it IS, now. So, since the present moment IS our life, NOW, we ought to live it, and each one that we receive, in the best way possible, doing the good that the moment brings, being grateful (that's another really important element in good health) for the moment and for all that it brings with it.

And IF there IS an afterlife (as I believe there is) by living each moment mindfully and gratefully, with kindness, mercy, and real love, we are giving ourselves the best preparation for an actually happy death.

Then we have nothing to fear. And we reduce our stress. We can be happier, healthier, and more hopeful.

Simple, ain't it.

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