A Radical Idea About Stress Reduction
Isn’t it interesting that we call those cultures who did not participate in the industrial revolution, the space age, the information age and other so-called advances in civilization – primitive? They hunt and gather food, prepare it, and spend their day lounging in the sun and playing with their children. We send our missionaries in to evangelize and modernize them so they can become as stressed as we are. On the other hand we call those who watch a clock, get trapped in traffic for hours, take their children to daycare or hire a baby sitter, work from dawn to dark so they never see the sun and have all kinds of stress related illnesses—civilized. The missionaries here are already as stressed as everyone else. Maybe we need a radical approach to stress reduction.
Hello! What’s wrong with this picture?
We blame all kinds of things on stress—physical, emotional and even spiritual problems are blamed on the stress in our lives. We find or devise stress relieving practices, take medication to help us deal with the stress, and go to psychologists, psychiatrists and hypnotherapists who help us deal with our stress, charging us fees that stress us even more.
All the while those people we want to change because they’re primitive are lying in the sun and playing with their children. Granted, they have shorter life spans because they don’t have all the cutting edge medical care that contemporary stressed-out society does. They die of natural causes. They never have the privilege of being hooked up to tubes and wires in an attempt to save them from a stress induced illness.
Is it possible for us to take a realistic look at our lifestyle and make a few changes? Maybe we should become a bit more like our primitive brothers and sisters living on a remote island. Let me see. What can we change that would bring us closer to that?
We can walk to more places and leave our cars at home. This gives us exercise and keeps us out of traffic jams. It also reduces air pollution. A realistic alternative is to take public transportation and relax on the train or bus – we could read or meditate or simply enjoy the ride.
We can begin to think of how we can work from home and still provide for our families. This keeps us out of traffic and the toxic environment of the office and allows our children to be with us rather than in daycare. “But who will do the work, staff the offices, be of service?” you question. Count on it someone will still work at the bank, waitress in the restaurant, fix the power lines, pick up the garbage and report in to the office. This is about you and me.
We – as in you and me – can take time out to sit in the sun and play with our children.
We can live in a smaller house, wear less expensive clothes, have less than 10 pair of shoes, turn off the TV, shut down the computer now and then and play with the children. (I can hear moans and groans all the way from your house to mine on that one).
We can re-arrange our priorities a bit and realize there is great merit to sitting in the sun and playing with our children. That’s the time, when we’re relaxed and basking, that we’ll get some of our most creative and innovative ideas along with a sun tan and a feeling of well-being.
Think about it. Progress may not always be found in going forward. Maybe there’s something we can still learn from the cave man or the aborigine. At least we can modify our own lives enough to sit in the sun now and then and play with our children. If enough of us do that the world will most certainly be a better place if for no one else than our children – and probably their children. And the stress level will decline – at least for you and me.