The Joy of Stress

I have just arrived home after my seventy five minute seven kilometre plus walk up and over Brisbane’s Mount Coot-tha. There are many walking tracks in the Mount Coot-tha Bush Reserve. The tracks vary in difficulty, with most involving some solid uphill sections. The tracks here are often used by hikers training to walk the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea as the terrain and climate are considered similar.

Three days a weeks I walk the mountain usually with a few other men and a group of very excited, happy and welcoming dogs. We walk in all weather and enjoy the bush when it is wet and dry.

There are always birds calling ranging from the laughing Kookaburra’s, screeching Cockatoos, noisy groups of Lorikeets, the occasional Whip bird making its loud call and a background of many other tweeting and chirping birds continually communicating.

The tracks have a rich covering of brown dead leaves and at this time of the year a lot of the gum trees are shedding their bark. The redness of the new bark of many gum trees is striking.

I find a special way to de-stress is to follow the path of a brown dead leaf as it floats downwards from the high canopy above making its way to the forest floor below. Each leaf follows its own path as it floats to and fro in the prevailing breeze, or sometimes a strong wind. Just taking time to watch this very simple process as I walk is extremely relaxing and part of my battery recharging process.

Early last week we had good solid rain fall and the wide spread run off saw the creeks flowing well and two streams we had to cross I could feel the cool running water on my legs that was most refreshing. Simpson’s Falls on our way back down the mountain were a picture and quite noisy as the water was flowing well.

This is a beautiful place to enjoy nature; push my heart, lungs and legs; expose my body to the sun and get a subsequent dose of vitamin D; breathing deeply to re-oxygenate my body to assist in creating new found energy to embrace the day ahead; reconnect deeply with that inner space within myself that needs soothing to stay healthy; meditate a little; and enjoy the company of other men and loving beasts.

None of our group walk with headphones, actually, over the past two years plus I have been walking the mountain. Actually, I have never seen a walker we have passed, wearing headphones either. Those who walk here are all happy to commune with nature, exercise and de-stress and leave the common frustrations of technology aside for a couple of hours.

Despite our best intentions to simplify our lives with technology, sometimes the technology fails. It locks up. It shuts down. It becomes selective in what it will allow us to see or do onscreen. Videos won’t play. Movies won’t download and sometimes, our system crashes!

As I engage in this eustress or ‘good’ stress each time I’m on the mountain, I know I’m rebooting my internal systems and supporting a balancing of my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. This is what I call… the joy of stress.

Comments ( 4 )

  • Doug

    Onya Johnnie, a very unique description of an amazing intention coupled w/ an opportunity too often can be lost, minimized, or ignored.

  • Elizabeth Thuan

    The trees have energy fields around them, particularly the larger, older ones, and they will kindly allow us to bask in their energy and to use it to clear our blockages, pains and obsessions with trivia. De-stressing, re-charging, re-establishing perspective, regaining stillness and a chance to stop the mind-chatter. We should all be grateful for the trees and the mountains.

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