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July 6, 2012

Change your Relationship to Stress.

How to turn Stress into a Good Thing.

Stress can be good for us. Just as when we exercise, we want to stress, then relax our muscles, and repeat, with good alignment and breath…we simply need to engage in stress, instead of labeling it as toxic and running from it. At the same time, we have to be able to work with it mindfully, safely, manage it…and remember that we’ll fail, and often.

How to make stress your friend: change your mind about stress.

The below was inspired by the above image with the little Seal. I come from a Buddhist pov, where stress or suffering is not regarded as bad news, but as workable. Read Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind? Remember the fly?

Obstacles are opportunities. Pushing away obstacles only creates further “samsara.” ~ ed.

PS: you can watch videos on what to do about Stress, here.


“Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to what happens.”

Stressed out? (It’s) Good for you…If.

Everytime I fail in my business career (you know, every day), I regard it as an opportunity to improve, learn, and wake up to something that I was previously ignoring. In other words, I welcome failure. It points out my blind spots. The key, however, is not to make the same mistake again and again.

Sound familiar?

For those of us on a spiritual path—which is just a fancy, formal way of saying for those of us who are alive and trying to be good people and enjoy life—stress and failure can and should and must be regarded as a good thing. Not something to push away.


There’s a prevalent idea in our pseudo-spiritual-lite hippie yuppie yoga-doing society that “Stress is Bad for You.”

But stress isn’t bad news. Stress is a part of life—it helps us, you know, grow up.

Just as stress is good for muscles, it can be good for our “souls”—we can learn and grow and mature through stress.

Fearing stress, not knowing how to deal with stress (breathing deep, facing the music), is bad news.

The key is to know how to deal with stress. If stress overwhelms us, that’s what will take years off of our life, make us look and feel old and joyless before our time.

I should know.

~ Waylon


Stress can be good for us.

As in exercise, stress can strengthen us and even be fun. It is, rather, our fear of stress that causes stress. Relax and grin, chin up!

Getting stressed out by stress? Our natural tendency is to relax out of stress, to heal, to back away from drama. If we’re doing the opposite—burning out, fighting, drowning in thoughts—it’s time to get offline, meditate, exercise, eat real food, and remember that true friends will have some kind criticism for us if we only dare to listen


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If you bother to not only subscribe to but open and read a part of Elephant’s newsletter, most mornings, you probably already know this:

Now, today, we can no longer afford to bury our heads in the proverbial positivity sand. “It’s too stressful to read the news!,” my acquaintances often say.

Well, we’re not the news, though we cover…reality. We’re here to help heal. To bother to give a care.

Caring sounds nice, but it means we have to be willing to feel. To be vulnerable. To even be stressed out, or anxious—and then to learn how to bring that scary feeling back to this present moment, where it can relax.

Empathy is tough, not machismo.

‘Cause empathy demands sacrifice: we can never eat bacon, say—in the same way that we can’t kick a puppy or wear shoes made by child labor. We walk a new path, one that’s NOT about perfection—but because we want to do our best, & enjoy this short, wonderful life to the utmost.

  1. *Read Pema Chodron.
  2. Subscribe free to elephantjournal.com/best
  3. Be willing to be bored—don’t multitask.



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