Ancient Wisdom - Modern Message

Diana Kennedy is a writer, inspirational speaker and massage therapist. She loves her job at Unity of Tallahassee where she leads the early service. Diana considers herself to be a student of life, always learning and always on the go. Visit her inter-faith site and read articles at Be sure to sign up for her monthly Ezine, The Divine Idea and peruse the Spiritual E-Courses that she offers.





Featured Article
From Stress to Serenity  

   Time Magazine ran a cover story about the epidemic
of stress and referred to it as this country’s leading
health problem.  It seems the situation has
progressively worsened since then. A high percentage
of adults perceive they are under much more stress
than they were a decade or two ago.  Prevention
Magazine surveyed its readers and revealed that almost
75% feel they have "great stress" at least one day a
week and about 33% indicated they feel this way more
than twice a week. It was estimated that 75 to 90 % of
all visits to primary care physicians are for stress
related problems.

   Stress is not easy to define because it is so
subjective.  It is a unique experience that is
accompanied by various symptoms playing out
differently in each of us.  What may be stressful and
give rise to anxiety in some (like riding a roller
coaster or public speaking) may be stimulating and
pleasurable for others.  In fact, an increase in
stress can actually increase productivity, up to a
point that is, and then additional stress can cause
things to really go down hill.  

   Like Goldilocks, just the right amount is what is
called for. Think of the tension on a violin string.
If not enough tension is present, a raspy noise comes
out while too much tension creates a discordant sound,
a screech as irritating as fingernails on a
chalkboard. Just the right amount of stress creates a
beautiful tone.

   When we experience life situations that are highly
stressful, hormonal and biochemical changes put our
bodies into a "fight-or-flight" mode.  Cortisol, the
stress hormone courses through our bodies, our heart
rate increases, adrenaline rises, and our digestive
and immune systems temporarily shut down.  Eventually
we get exhausted and perhaps experience illness or
disease if we continue in this state.

   While stress is unavoidable, the key to reducing
it is to prevent it!  Getting exercise several times a
week, following a healthy eating plan, getting support
from friends or a professional, avoiding too much
caffeine and most of all taking time out for ourselves
will prove helpful.  One way we can take time out for
ourselves is to relax.  Slow deep breathing, enjoying
nature through walks, and meditation are all ways to
slow down our bodies and our minds.  Progressive
relaxation where you lay down and from head to toe
purposefully contract and then relax each body part
allows the mind to escape and the body to feel

   For me, the spiritual component of taking time for
myself is a big way I recharge my battery.  Lately,
I’ve been following the sage advice in Reinhold
Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer, "God, grant me the courage
to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the
things I can't, and the wisdom to know the
difference."  It really lets me “let go and let God!  

   For those on a spiritual path, moving from stress
to serenity is vital so that we experience the joys of
life as we continue to serve others. Since it is
likely that stress-producing events will continue to
present themselves to us in our lives, it is helpful
to learn how to transform stress into serenity!


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