On stumbling across this quote again last night, once more I felt the freedom in these words. Quite apt too with this month's focus on ‘Stress Awareness.’ 
In the words of William James - “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” 
We all have this choice, we just need to remain open. Create some space and discover how we let this weapon work for us. Mindfulness can get us there. 
When paying attention to our thoughts they multiply, expanding, allowing little time for much else. It’s so important we water the ones which don’t provoke stresses. The power to change our direction of focus at our fingertips. 
We all fall casualty to stress at times, for each of us different triggers activating our stress response. The problem is, much of the time we get siphoned into patterns and stress becomes our ‘natural’ reaction. In turn a habit forms and stress then becomes a regular behaviour. 
Stress can be associated with triggers such as eating, drinking, smoking, going out, and many more. Subconsciously you may bring on the stress to enjoy the trigger and so forth. It can become a vicious cycle, a pattern, that in turn becomes almost routine. We may not even need to feel stressed but there we are again - stressed out! I’m sure everyone of us has shared at some-point just how stressed they are - I know I have on many an occasion. 
At work, it can be a default part of the day. One person is stressed, then the next, it’s like dominos - the whole office is pressurised. You may only hear the word work - already the stress is there! Do we really want this strain as part of our routine? I think the answer is no. 
Awareness of our thoughts is our weapon. We are not the thought itself remember, we don’t need to give it power. We can choose where we focus and place our attention. Once we master this the burdens become less present. Of course we will experience stress at times but we don’t need to experience the extreme levels we commonly put ourselves under. Part of the problem with stress is that we are always thinking about what’s to come. By being present for even a minute, 9 times out of 10 we can cut the stress in half immediately. We just need to stop and focus on what we can control in today, in this moment. 
Practising meditation enables us to do exactly this. Paying mindful attention to our breathing, an activity, a song, a walk, this can divert your thoughts and you notice new things. Making that choice, to quite simply choose one thought over another, even if just for a little while so we feel a pause. 
Don’t give stress the power - allow your attention to settle somewhere peaceful today - even if just for a minute. 
Mindful living, it’s easy when you notice! 
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