In between travels, I study. Mostly online, with the exception of French weeknight classes (more of that to come soon). I find it a good balance with the routine from daily business hours, and the temptation of sitting in front of the TV watching Netflix and munching on popcorn at night. So I eagerly signed up for some free courses from my Coursera app, and the first one in my list is De-mistifying Mindfulness by Universiteit Leiden. It’s a 6-week learning course, and I’m now on my second week. Well, I should be on my third week, but I’m lagging behind because of no valid reason. Yes, sadly, I got distracted. Netflix won.
I honestly thought I’d just breeze through it, treated it more of a refresher training of sorts. I was wrong. First module in, I realized I’m one of those who stereotypes mindfulness as a monk, or a sage – requiring a place of peace and quiet in order to practice. And then I took the Perceived Stress Scale test with the notion that I’d probably rate at the lower, if not the lowest, end of the scale. Halfway through the test I realized I’ve been more stressed than I thought I was – so when I rated higher than the average person of all age brackets, I was not surprised anymore. Yikes, so it’s true then, I easily get stressed. And worse, I keep it all bottled in, appearing as calm and chill as how I am mostly known for. No wonder I have a chronic case of acid re-flux and other body pains! While stress is good for the body, too much or too little can be life or mind altering.
Before heading out for breakfast today I tried to think of what my major source of stress was. It didn’t take long for me to accept that it’s because I expected people or things to act like or turn out how I expected them to be. It stems from me, and my so called ‘standards’.
I’m not even halfway through the course, and I look forward to learning more. For starters, I should really make time and effort to practice the exercises (lab work) on a daily basis. One if the practices that I like most is the body-scan breathing exercise.
I know I’ve got so much more to learn AND unlearn. I’m taking it one module at a time. One thing’s for sure – Netflix is now scheduled accordingly, and in moderation, in my calendar.