Youch. We all have masks, cloaks, and other protective gear we wear. Tension, for some people, becomes a cloak. We throw it on and keep it on at all times. No one gets in. Nothing gets out. Think about someone you know (and it may be you) who uses tension as a barrier. There is a rigidness and an armor-like quality to this. Positivity is neither radiating out from someone who uses tension as a cloak, nor does positivity cross over that barrier TO the person. It is a powerful cloak. You may know this for a number of reasons just as I do…. If you have been so tense lately that you are wearing it like a cloak, consider doing one or both of the following: 1. SLOW DOWN. Unless you are an ambulance driver, it is not an emergency. Natalie Goldberg said, “Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency.” All of you readers are bright, rationale, thoughtful folks. So let’s not act ignorant by acting as if everything is an emergency. It’s not. And you don’t want to end up IN the emergency room because you have had an accident or a heart attack or some other tension/stress-related event. And, as Lily Tomlin told us, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” She was right. I suggest making a list of the times you deliberately need to slow down this week - or whenever. Consciously notice when you need to and then deliberately make note. I think you’ll see a difference in your tension level. Note: Think about this for your children, also. 2. Find or create some quiet. Recently, it snowed heavily in our area - as in nearly 2 feet over a 5 day period. One of the things I noticed and loved about that is when you went outside, the heavy snow absorbed so much sound that it was really, really quiet. If you have ever had the power go out in your house, you know that one of the ways you notice this (during the day) is that when you walk in your house, it is sooooo quiet. We live in a world where there is a constant hum or roar around us. Humans really weren’t set up for this constant barrage of sound and stimulation. Because that is what we’re immersed in, it adds to our tension and stress. Steven Halpern, a New Age musician, made note that: When Mozart was composing at the end of the eighteenth century, the city of Vienna was so quiet that fire alarms could be given verbally, by a shouting watchman mounted on top of St. Stefan’s Cathedral. In twentieth-century society, the noise level is such that it keeps knocking our bodies out of tune and out of their natural rhythms. This ever-increasing assault of sound upon our ears, minds, and bodies adds to the stress load of civilized beings trying to live in a highly complex environment. If you are feeling too tense today, tomorrow, or next year, make an effort to get some quiet - even for a few minutes. If you can get it for longer…so much the better. Go somewhere. Turn off some noisemakers. See if you can’t slow down, stop rushing, and take off that tension cloak. It is really not very becoming. And if you are well aware that you - or those around you - are freaked-out to one degree or another and you can see that it is taking a toll, then you’re invited to access the Staying Positive Society where you can find tools for yourself or your team. Here’s where you can find out all about it Staying Positive in a Freaked-Out World.

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