How many of us feel stress, overwhelm, anxiousness or any unpleasant situation that places us in a feeling of tension? And do we seek a behavior to cover up, bury, release or relieve ourselves from the feelings we are experiencing? And if so what are some of these behaviours? For me it was and still can be at times: • Being harsh and critical towards myself • Eating certain foods or amounts or at certain times in order to take me away from the present moment • Thinking about being elsewhere than in the present moment - be this a real place or fictional location • Ignoring the bodies communications to what is needed in the moment • Engaging in conversations that draw attention away from the tension OR conversation that dwells on the tension as it being an issue that is somehow stuck or something I am a victim of Do we use certain go-to behaviours to manage stress or is it a cocktail of behaviours we use? And how does video gaming come into all of this? From experience I found that video gaming supported the behaviours listed above, it was not the root of these behaviours but simply magnified them. In this regard video gaming is not the root of abusive and negative situations a person can find themselves in but it is also not innocent in its propagation of such harm and ill states of being. We can say that video gaming can be a way of 'kicking back' or because ‘we have nothing else to do’ from the day but what is the results of this releasing? Having recently starting to use a pressure cooker I have learnt that if the release value is not directed in a known way (towards the extraction fan) the steam can create a mess across the kitchen or have the potential to scald myself - do we know where this pressure from life goes when we direct it towards video games? Is this irresponsible misdirection of our issues possibly be one of the reasons why the online world is so toxic today? And what if we could approach stress management differently rather than seeking something from the outside to release the pressure no matter what the quality of the result as long as we get our end result of not feeling stressed? What if we could apply a quality from within us in conjunction with outside tools that supported us to heal from the stressful triggers in such a way that we respond to situations differently? Over the past few years I have found this to be the case, that with this quality from within I handle life and difficult or challenging situations much differently. There is a quality within us that is grander than anything we may face in life. When we tap into this quality more and more the behaviours and movements we make to address these feelings of stress change from covering up to feeling empowered and supported to face whatever comes our way. At first it started with being gentle with myself, learning to treat myself as a student or a small child. Opening up to learning and making mistakes, this can be hard when we are so used to living in stress, strive and pressure but with practice it builds. This quality of being gentle with myself took on the outside appearance of not stomping around when I walked, listening to my bodies messages for sleep and bathroom breaks, not just pulling my clothes on in a rough manner or putting up with clothing that felt tight, uncomfortable etc. When we are stressed treating ourselves in a rough way makes the situation worse! And ignoring ourselves and the bodies messages by taking our focus away from our reality doesn’t make the situation go away but actually prepares us to be less prepared and able to cope when it comes around again. Being gentle with ourselves in the moments of calm help support us when stress is experienced. Life becomes more about being open and curious to learning than it is about survival and protection. Life doesn't become all sunshine and problem free but the way we approach, relate to and manage stressful, uncomfortable and challenging situations changes into a relationship whereby we can grow and appreciate what comes our way.