This week Robin & Justin tackle stress--when it can be good, how you can use it to your advantage, and why it's important to buy the right size hamper if you don't want to bang your face against the wall. There's help along the way from business psychologists, William "Therapist to the Dinosaurs" James, and even a guest appearance by the Buddha.
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...new research suggests that all the attention to the risks of stress may actually be part of the problem. Though it tends to get lost in the frenzy, our stress response evolved to do us good; psychologists have long recognized that under the right conditions, it can improve mental and physical health and boost athletic and cognitive performance. And researchers are finding that one way to unleash this positive side of stress is simply to retrain ourselves to think of it differently.
The reality of modern life is that we can’t always avoid depletion. But that doesn’t mean we’re helpless against it... Simply knowing you can become depleted, and moreover, knowing the kinds of decisions you might make as a result, makes you far better equipped to handle difficult situations when and as they arise.
When we look at living creatures from an outward point of view, one of the first things that strike us is that they are bundles of habits. In wild animals, the usual round of daily behavior seems a necessity implanted at birth; in animals domesticated, and especially in man, it seems, to a great extent, to be the result of education.
Later translators, however, including Walpola Rahula (What Buddha Taught, 1974) and nearly all contemporary translators, have emphasized that "suffering" is too limited a translation for the term dukkha, and have preferred to either leave the term untranslated or to clarify that translation with terms such as unease, anxiety, stress, dissatisfaction, disquietude, etc.
This inward reorientation of the stress metaphor, Becker argues, is largely the result of the rising monoculture of liberal individualism, which places individual freedom and self-actualization at the heart of what it means to be human, all the while preserving and honoring the fluid self and negating the myth of fixed personality.
The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.
*P.S.: Thank you to George Porteus, who designed our awesome new logo! Y'all should check out his other work and hire him to make things for you because he has got the skills to pay the bills, as they say. *