13 Sivan 5779 / Sunday, June 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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The Potential Volcano    

The Potential Volcano

The pressure is killing us and we're not even aware of it. Before we explode, we must find a way to catch ourselves, even in the middle of the craziest day. Try this self-test…


Translated by Chana Cohen


“Who, me? I’m the calmest person around!”, we try to convince ourselves and everyone around us… until someone annoys us.


Lior yells at Miri, “I’m very laid back and relaxed!” Miri, not willing to let that go, yells back at him, “I was calm the whole day until you came and annoyed me!”


You hear this kind of dialogue a lot. We tend to blame everyone else for our angry outbursts. When we’re alone we usually feel quite calm. Most of the time we don’t even pay attention to our tension levels. We imagine that we are peaceful, calm people who would never lose their cool…


Until people start getting on our nerves.


When we’re alone we never explode. But when we’re around others suddenly they start to get on our nerves. The false sense of calm that we have when we’re alone makes us think that the people around us are responsible for the anger that we feel when we’re around them.


Just a few minutes ago we were so calm! And now that there are other people around suddenly we can’t find that inner peace. So obviously the blame does not lie with us.


But obviously we were under pressure all along. Our environment is just a trigger for the volcanic eruption bubbling within us. Before the eruption, a volcano looks like an ordinary mountain surrounded by lush vegetation. The explosions always catch us by surprise. We get so shocked by our reactions because they’re usually so out of proportion.


And the poor victim, who on a good day would not have annoyed us at all and might have even made us laugh, is suddenly scorched in molten lava.


How does this happen?


Our perception of and reactions to the situations we find ourselves in and the people around us depend on our emotional - and spiritual - state of mind.


Most of the time, because of a lack of self-awareness, we only become aware of our state of mind as a result of our reactions and behavior towards those people or events that have ostensibly disturbed our peace of mind.


In order not to wake up too late, after insulting a close relative, quarrelling with a friend, fighting with the neighbors, shouting at our children or threatening divorce, we should stop for a moment, even on the busiest day, and take a close look at the way we are reacting to the triggers around us.


We deceive ourselves by thinking that tension and pressure are concepts that affect other people and have nothing to do with us. Self-reflection is very useful here because our body is the most reliable measure of our inner state.


Now you can take this survey for early detection of increased stress, before you explode and do something you’ll regret.


Sit back, relax and pay attention to your body.


1. How are your legs placed?

If they are moving or jumping - give yourself two points

If they are folded or crossed - one point

If your feet are flat on the floor - zero points


2. How are your shoulders?

If they’re hunched - give yourself one point

If they’re relaxed - zero points


3. How is your stomach feeling?

If it’s sucked in - give yourself one point

If it feels free and relaxed - zero points


4. How is your breathing?

If you find it hard to breathe deeply and you feel a lump in your throat - three points

If your breathing is short and superficial - two points

If your breathing is deep and raising your chest and shoulders - one point

If your breathing is deep, long and relaxed - zero points


5. Try to move your neck:

If it’s stiff, constricted or hard to move - give yourself one point

If it’s loose and free - zero points


6. Check your lower jaw:

If it’s locked and closing your mouth - one point

If it’s loose and allows the mouth to drop open slightly - zero points


7. If you’ve managed to take the survey until now without fidgeting in your chair - zero points


If you can’t wait for it to end so you can get up and go do everything that you need to do - one point


Now add up all of the points and see where you range from 0 - 10, zero being very calm and ten being very pressured.


Tips and tricks:


Self-awareness will prevent a lot of unpleasantness and conflict and enable you to work on your mental state in advance.


You can stop yourself in time before the busy daily schedule overwhelms you and your list of tasks weighs heavily on you and makes you nervous and angry all day long.


It's also a good idea to identify certain days of the month when you are more stressed and impatient than usual, and try to take it easy during those days in the coming months.


When you are going through a personal crisis or emotional difficulty, you can make life easier for yourself by delegating certain tasks to other people and focusing on the most important things only, once you have created a clear and orderly list of priorities.



* * *

Danit Milner is a mind-body therapist in natural medicine. She specializes in treatment utilizing nutrition, plants, supplements, reflexology, massage, yoga, guided imagery, and iridology. Please send your questions to: danitmilner@gmail.com

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