Scott’s Thoughts: Finding Tranquility

Boat on a lake.“It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson (April 1743 – July 4, 1826), American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd U.S. President

With the college and NFL football seasons underway, now seems like a great time to talk a little bit about stress management.

It’s funny how much stress can accompany how we choose to spend a little R&R time with friends and family. Both the rush of a big win and the crush of a bad beat can trigger all sorts of stressful emotions. Yes, even winning can mean stress, and it’s here I’d like to take a look at what stress really is.

Stress is a force which challenges or disrupts your life’s equilibrium. Both your body and your mind constantly seek to keep things in homeostasis, defined as “the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements.” Stress, therefore, is anything which puts you out of that stable equilibrium.

Many of us may feel we operate under a kind of constant low-level flow of negative stress, but the truth is that both positive and negative waves of stress impact us throughout the day. That stress, in turn, impacts our perception of the world, how we make decisions, and where we place value on a day-to-day basis. Stress is like a colored filter on a lens, shifting everything we see. At times we don’t even realize the way the “hangover” effect of stress influences us long after the original event has passed.

What we need in our lives to help us recharge and bring clarity to our thinking is tranquility. You’ve probably experienced a few moments of transcendent tranquility in your life. For some, it’s the hour after a vigorous workout. For others, the lake at 6AM when they push out in their canoe. We should, for the sake of every aspect of our lives, remember not to make our free time as heedlessly busy as our work day.

While there’s no universal path to finding tranquility, you can start bychecking out these 37 stress management tips.

Also, put on your headphones and connect with nature right from your desk with this nifty website,, which contains 6 natural video settings (with audio!) in 2-minute and 10-minute increments with or without guided meditation.

In the mean time, be mindful of your stress. It can be enough sometimes to observe it and simply acknowledge it. There’s a kind of magic to naming it and setting it down– it sort of fences in the anxiety to quantify it.

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