The basis of Buddhism is a doctrine known as the Four Noble Truths. The First Truth is that suffering, pain, and misery exist in life. The Second Truth is that this suffering is caused by selfish craving and personal desire. The Third Truth is that this selfish craving can be overcome. The Fourth Truth is that the way to overcome this misery is through the Eightfold Path.
The goal isn’t to live in a state of perpetual balance and peace and calm; the goal is to move through stress to calm, so that you’re ready for the next thing in life to pop up, which it will, and to move through the cycle from stress to calm and not get stuck in the stress cycle...which is suffering.
So why doesn't this cycle occur? It's all about physiology, really. Although technology has advanced in the past twenty years and ever more rapidly in the past ten, your body have not evolved to keep pace.
It is a biological response for the brain to perceive anything as a threat. ANYTHING. And, like all biological processes, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. If we can move all the way through the stress cycle, we stay healthy. But we don't.
We get stuck. Often we expect that solving the trigger that activated the stress response will end the stress cycle, but in fact the process of dealing with most modern stress triggers, like traffic, kids, money, relationships, etc., is separate from the process of dealing with stress itself.
You have to deal with BOTH, otherwise the stress stays stuck in your body...literally STUCK...causing the next trigger to set off a higher level of response that is not in proportion to what is happening in front of you at that moment.
Think of a dog that shakes itself out after getting worked up. It might look silly but your best friend just got themselves out of their cycle of stress by shaking it off and can move on and keep sniffing.
Your response, on the other hand, to the next trigger will be an accumulation of the years of anger and suffering that are stuck inside you because you don't shake it off.
The good news is that like the dog shaking you also have an old physiological friend that can help you move through the cycle. Your breath.
When you focus your breath and breathe deeply in and out of your belly you switch you nervous system from the sympathetic (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic (relaxation) and your mind becomes quiet. It feels safe and all the stress hormones that lock down feeling and thoughts that need to pass through you can be felt and released. Wow, right?
For women, this is really important because since we were children we were taught to smile, act nice and make people happy, which meant constantly holding in what we really felt and getting stuck in a cycle of stress that has been building and building for decades until finally something has to blow.
Let your breath be that giant blow of relief. Let it free you and connect you to other women and be the source of healing.
As the Buddha say, "Pain in inevitable. Suffering is optional."
Listen to my Just Breathe withe Eileen Fein podcast to learn more about Breathwork and how it can help you move through your stress cycle as a daily practice.