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Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Stress Reduction Sunday: Know Your “Stress Signatures” and other Tips for Managing Stress

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak
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Greetings everyone. With the start of my weekly column on Connecticut Watchdog, Sundays will be “Stress Reduction Sundays.” Read my posts on how to manage stress effectively in your life. Here is my initial post:

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The first principle to handling stress is to know your self. You must be able to monitor your body’s responses to a situation to know when you are becoming stressed and remaining stressed.

The body registers characteristic stress “signatures” such as increased heart rate, sweating, or muscle tension. The exact signatures are individual.

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For some people, stress shows up in the body as headache, jaw clenching, or gastrointestinal distress. What are your stress signatures? Noticing when these are happening let’s you know that stress is present. Their presence can also be a reminder to work with the stressful circumstance in a way that can help to reduce the stress.

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Sport Saturday: The Buddha’s Sport :: Kabaddi

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak
If golf had been around in the time of the Buddha, he probably would have been a great golfer. The Buddha was known for his athletic prowess and powers of concentration. Tiger woods would have nothing on him. Kabaddi was the Buddha’s sport. According to the Wall Street Journal this ancient game is making a resurgence and may be a future Olympic sport. 

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Living in Vermont

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

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Let me tell you a thing or two about
the place where I live in Northern Vermont. Vermont has a population of
approximately 600,000 people and 300,000 cows. It is one of the least populated
states. Our shining metropolis, Burlington, has 40,000 people. Burlington sits
on the shores of vast Lake Champlain overlooking the Adirondack Mountains to
the West. To the East, lie the Green mountains worn smooth and covered with
trees over millions of years. The highest peak in Vermont is Mt. Mansfield
sitting at 4393 feet. There is a “Toll Road” that serves as a ski
trail in the winter and an access road in the summer. It’s $25 a carload, but
in the evening you can hike, run, or bike up. One evening, a friend and I mountain-biked
up. It’s a relentless 4.5 mile climb and an arm-seizing, white-knuckle, and
thankfully brief, plunge down its gravelly hairpin length.

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Afterwards we went to a
“secret” swimming hole at Bingham Falls in the Smuggler’s Notch
National Forest. I say “secret” because busloads of Japanese tourists
are known to show up on the occasional unsuspecting skinny dipper. It’s a
half-mile descent in. We arrived at dusk and followed the sound of the raging
water. The falls sit in a 50 foot high bowl of boulders. The water was an
inviting and invigorating 60 degrees. A healing swim after the rigorous climb
up the mountain. To read a story on Bingham Falls in Vermont Life Magazine, click here

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The sound of the water is meditative and it is easy to be
mindful in a place of stark, isolated nature. The twilight and the refreshing cold
made my body come alive. I reflected on how fortunate I am to live in this
place where such wonders are more or less in my backyard. Why is it that a
place like this pulls us into mindfulness more so than a crowded subway car or
a suburban strip mall? There is likely an archaic reason for this. We evolved
in the natural world and this evolution still resonates deep in our psyches
when we are exposed to it. Of course, there is nothing inherently more real
here at Bingham Falls than there is at a cigar store on Seventh Avenue in New
York City. Both are empty in the Buddhist sense; both a process and not a
static thing. But we respond differently.

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It’s a good idea to spend time in nature. Professor Randolph
Nesse cautions “natural selection has not had time to revise our bodies for
coping with fatty diets, automobiles, drugs, artificial lights and central
heating.” Research suggests that exposure to nature is beneficial for our
well-being. Just having a window in a hospital room can result in quicker
discharge and prisoners use less medical services.

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The biochemist Reanny reminds us how iron got in our blood
poetically pointing to the interconnectedness we have with nature.  

It was smelted into being in the fiery
furnace that was the brilliant core of a giant star; it was flung across space
by the violence of a super-nova when that star exploded into an apocalypse that
had the brilliance of a million suns; it congealed into the rocks of just-born
planet; it was rubbed into soil by wind and water and the action of microbes;
it was taken up and made flesh by plant; and now lives in a red cell,
circulating the rivers your blood, helping you breathe and keep your
consciousness afire, here, now.

We are not just connected to nature. We are nature.

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Morning Meditation: Fridays

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Greetings everyone. A reminder and invitation to join me live online for Morning Meditation, 

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sponsored by eMindful.com. I’m in the video classroom (see below) every Friday morning. Other instructors lead the practice on the other days of the week. These meditations are offered free of charge by eMindful. 

The practice runs from 8:00 to 8:45 eastern standard time and you may enter and leave the classroom at any time without disrupting the practice. If you can’t make it during that time there are recorded sessions like the one below available. See you in the morning!
Click on this link to login: http://www.emindful.com/mindfulness_meditation.html

Morning Meditation 6 August 2010 from Arnold Kozak on Vimeo.

Previous Posts

Everything Essential Buddhism Book
I was recently on the Mark Johnson Show on WDEV in Vermont. We spoke about the Buddha and Buddhism themes that are covered in my new book, The Everything Essential Buddhism Book. It's always a pleasure to talk with mark and a touch of sadness to ...

posted 10:05:58am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Don't Own Your Mind
Our brains are little factories. Their chief product is, of course, thoughts. They also manufacture images, memories, and emotions. Best of all, they fabricate stories. Our brains can do this unbidden, without any direction from us. Given the ...

posted 6:36:24pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Relationships 2.0 Interview August 11
Tune in Tuesday August 11 at 6 PM (3 PM PST) for my radio conversation with Dr. Michelle Skeen, host of Relationships 2.0. We'll be discussing relationship challenges for introverts and guidance from my book, The Awakened Introvert. If you ...

posted 9:00:13pm Aug. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Coming Soon: Mindfulness A to Z
2015 has been a busy year for me publishing books. In May, The Awakened Introvert came out (New Harbinger). In July, The Everything Essential Buddhism Book came out (Adams Media). Soon, Mindfulness A to Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now (Wisdom ...

posted 12:46:02pm Aug. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Life Interrupted
I've been thinking a lot about interruptions lately. When I meditate in the mornings, I prefer to do it at a time when I won't be interrupted by others. Yet, even in the most protected environment, interruptions are inevitable. My mind will ...

posted 4:50:31pm Jul. 28, 2015 | read full post »

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