I attended a public relations professionals meeting this week where we were reminded that as a group we're a little stressed out.
Our speaker observed that we celebrate Earth "Day" but actually have a stress awareness "month." He asked us to consider what that says about our society. Many in the room discounted the observation. We're a bunch of caffeine addicts and deadline junkies. We go from the high of one full-energy meeting to the next time-crunched event.
When the speaker chose to put down his microphone and pulled a chair up to the front of the room we all became a little quiet. When he next encouraged us to all push back from our tables and turn off our smart phones we became a little antsy. But when he announced that he was going to teach us a few office yoga moves which we could perform seated in our chairs – well let's just say for the first time that day most of us were quiet and waiting.
What followed was 20 minutes of gentle stretches, deep breathing and no talking – except for the guest speaker. He jokingly remarked that he had recently been complimented that his voice sounded like Bob Ross.
It did. For those of you who know and love Bob Ross, you'll get the comparison. If you don't YouTube "Bob Ross Painting" and then enjoy a few relaxing minutes while you contemplate "happy little trees."
I can honestly say that once his presentation was finished I did feel more relaxed. For the first time in days I was breathing easier. My shoulders were not hunched up around my ears. My feet were not tapping endlessly in pre-fight or flight preparation.
Now had that inner peace lasted the length of the car trip back to my office from the meeting location, I may have been in even better shape. Unfortunately I'm conditioned after many years of tight deadlines to go into a work attack mode the minute I see a "to-do" list with my name on it.
I believe though that there are lingering benefits to any stress reducing exercise. The night following the class I found myself at the Oriental House picking up dinner for the family. I had worked extra late at the office, the boys were still at school with various activities and Big Al had work of his own. The cascading fountain in the entryway had me transfixed. I couldn't get enough of the color changing lights, the water bubbling and the lilies floating and bouncing off the rocks.
For the first time that day, I took a deep breath and sat back for a moment.
Life moves fast; even in Neosho. Often we need to ease back, breath deep and let go. Try it. You could even throw in a good stretch while you're at it.
Page 2 of 2 - Lori Marble writes a weekly column for the Daily News.