Ayla Adkins/The Broadside
Many students at COCC are starting to feel the stress of impending doom– also known as finals week. With so much happening like the election, COVID-19, and classes, some relaxation to relieve stress and anxiety is needed.
“I’m not a qualified Buddhist teacher by any stretch of the imagination,” said Nathan Ott, a Central Oregon man who has received instructions in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Ott learned most of what he knows from “Micheal Stevens at the Natural Mind Dharma Center in Bend Oregon” and highly recommends his teachings.
Ott said that the way he releases his stress is, “First, I try to stabilize my mind by focusing on the body sensations that I identify with stress. I take a few deep breaths and check in with my body to see where and how I am experiencing it. When I notice the body sensations, I might provide them a simple label, pleasant or unpleasant.”
The second step Ott takes is allowing himself “to experience them just as they are, without wondering why they arose or when they will disappear, seeing them as a natural movement of my mind and body.” He said that “If my focus drifts away, or I catch myself daydreaming or caught up in thought loops, I gently bring my attention back to my body, either to the sensations of stress or to the feeling of my breath coming in and out.” He also may recite a mantra to help him regain his composure.
The advice he gives to those experiencing stress right now is to “Try to relax into the stress instead of fighting with it. It’s very easy to pour more energy into a stressful state by becoming excited and creating more stress about being stressed.”
Another tip is paying “attention to the signals your body is sending instead of reaching for a distraction to mask or block them out.”