Breaking through the bonds of stress with spirituality

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October 6, 2015

12:34 PM

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Relax. Sometimes it’s the simplest actions that are the easiest to forget. In a Huffington Post article, Jamie Adasi recently addressed this current societal tendency in her article “The ‘S’ Word You Can’t Live Without: Bringing Spirituality to the Workplace.” Tiptoeing along a very fine line between sanity and insanity, our culture seems to always be whispering in our ears, telling us that with just one more volunteer event, one more part-time job or one more time-consuming class, we will finally achieve success. Compiling event upon service upon class, pushing ourselves almost to the breaking point, we accumulate intense amounts of stress, excusing it as a necessary pain along the path to success.

“Maybe success can be a tangible concept, rather than an unreachable goal resting tauntingly just beyond our breaking point.”

At the College of William and Mary, there always seems to be something to worry about. Whether it’s sports practice, service activities or ridiculous amounts of reading, stress is real, prevalent and actively moving on our campus. But maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe it’s time to say no to that extra activity and yes to thriving in the places we’re already in. Maybe success can be a tangible concept, rather than an unreachable goal resting tauntingly just beyond our breaking point. The proposition is almost too good to be true, but one might wonder how to actually achieve it.

In such a high-stress environment, searching for rest can be an arduous battle, resulting in only a few fleeting moments of peace. Adasi offers several tips for introducing spirituality as a means to minimize stress in her article, most of which revolve around prioritizing positivity, taking time for breaks and keeping sight of our own worth.

“When we are constantly running from one thing to the next, forgetting the reasons we even chose to become involved in events that seem to provide nothing but stress, what’s the point?”

When Adasi references spirituality, she is largely speaking of meditation and positivity — not the stereotypical meditation pose involving crossed legs and folded hands, but rather a brief time dedicated to taking deep breaths and regaining composure. When trying to tackle that huge paper or juggle 17 different events in a single day, just remember to relax. You will be okay. Take 30 seconds to focus on your breathing: in and out. Listen to your favorite song, take a 10-second dance break, do something that makes you happy. When we are constantly running from one thing to the next, forgetting the reasons we even chose to become involved in events that seem to provide nothing but stress, what’s the point? Let’s not become prey to the ever-looming predator of stress. Instead, let’s laugh in the face of worry and remember to pause every now and then to remind ourselves that we are capable, talented and stronger than this unwelcome burden that somehow remains engrained in our nature.

“A simple act of remembering our capabilities, our reasoning and our positivity can provide the extra confidence we didn’t even know we needed.”

In theory, a fight against stress sounds inspiring and ambitious, but in reality seems to be classified as a war with no feasible victory in sight. However, hope constitutes more than an imagined concept in this arena — for hope is merely a willingness to see a positive light in the midst of a dark world. So instead of running away, let’s face the source of so many complications head on. It doesn’t have to be so hard. We can start small, by having a real conversation with a peer on the way to class. Or by taking short, refreshing breaks from what overwhelms us the most. Even by listening to music, painting or enjoying the beauty of nature all around us.

Yet perhaps the most important of all is remembrance. A simple act of remembering our capabilities, our reasoning and our positivity can provide the extra confidence we didn’t even know we needed. Instead of focusing on areas to be improved, focus instead on right now. We may not be where we should be, but at least we’re not where we used to be. Let’s always remember: we are the College. We are capable. And we can overcome the detrimental effects of stress.

Email Abby Berry at [email protected]

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  • Abby Berry