News You Can Use For December 2003
Harmful stress – the kind that generates illness, family violence and war – begins with a lack of inner harmony and peace. During the holidays, the vibrations of peace are very strong, with a tangible spirit of giving, friendliness, love and joy.
"Despite this spirit of warmth and peace, however, the season too often finds us spending more than we can afford and eating and drinking too much," Sasser says.
The family expert paints this picture: The stores are mobbed, traffic snarled. Those living alone may feel isolated, and troubled families may see their problems intensified.
"In short, if we're not careful, the peace of the holiday season can be eclipsed by hurry, worry and tension," Sasser cautions, adding, "We are apt to make many little and big choices that separate us from a deeper attunement to the season's vibrant peace."
What to do about it? One antidote is called "The 10-Minute Cure for Holiday Stress." It consists of two 5-minute sessions. Each period consists of three parts.
Nighttime peace attunement (5 minutes):
1. Mentally scan back over the day and assess your depth of inner peace during each significant event. In the future, how could you do an ever-better job of being calm and peaceful?
2. Give thanks for the opportunities of the day, and mentally forgive yourself and others for any mistakes and shortcomings.
3. With deep feeling and concentration, send thoughts of peace and loving-kindness to all those who come to mind.
Early morning peace attunement (5 minutes):
1. Take a moment for quiet time as you let yourself feel warmth and peace in your heart.
2. Visualize your upcoming day and see yourself carrying out your activities in a calm, productive, creative, peace-filled way.
3. With deep attention and conviction, mentally repeat to yourself several times: "I feel the spirit of peace around me and within me. Peace, like a bright sun, radiates from my heart. Peace flows through me and blesses all I do."
"Do your best to keep your nighttime and morning attunements to 5 minutes," Sasser recommends, explaining, "That way it won't eat into your time too much, and you'll be more likely to continue with the exercise in the days to come. You may be surprised at how much you can comfortably accomplish in 5 minutes."
Why is peace so important? As University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service experts put it, "Peace is absolutely essential to optimal health and the creative management of stress."
Kentucky’s human development and family relations specialist Dr. Sam Quick and staff support associate Peter Hesseldenz say, "Peace is the mother of kindness, sensitivity and affection. It is the cornerstone of wisdom, and the foundation of all intelligent decisions. Out of peace comes love, and from love springs joy."
They add, "During the remainder of the holidays, and throughout the coming year, let peace and the love it brings be your goal and your guide. Say no to hurry, tension, over-scheduling and over-consuming. Say yes to listening calmly to the promptings of your heart."
Sasser points out that if we all make a conscious effort to let our inner peace imbue our thoughts, words and actions, our collective level of stress will be significantly reduced. Moreover, as we become serious students of the spirit of peace, we will find our lives both greatly simplified and greatly enriched.
For information on related family and consumer topics, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. Also, log on to the Family and Consumer Sciences section under the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service at the LSU AgCenter Web site: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
Source: Diane D. Sasser (225) 578-6701, or Dsasser@agcenter.lsu.edu.
Source: University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Sam Quick, human development and family relations specialist, and Peter Hesseldenz, staff support associate.