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In order to understand how origami aids in stress relief, it is important to understand what stress is and why it needs to be managed. The definition of stress itself is fraught with opposing views. Hans Seyle is one of first professionals to get to grips with the definition. Back in 1956 he said “stress is not necessarily something bad – it all depends on how you take it. The stress of exhilarating, creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental.” He thought that the effect of stress would be apparent whether the stress be caused by a positive or negative experience.
Richard S Lazarus has since found the most widely accepted definition for stress “stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize”. As this description is the most acceptable we can summarize it by saying: That people feel stressed when they are presented with a situation, which they do not have the experience necessary to manage. The extent of the stress varies on that persons experience of a particular set of circumstances.
Stress is equated to worry or grief and it comes from many sources in daily life. Whether kids, partners or work become a toll the symptoms are the same: nervousness, anxiety, short temper, lose of sleep. Often those suffering smoke or drink more heavily. Stress is an unseen tension within us. It leads to unusual and often harmful behavior and is in the long term highly detrimental.
Origami is a great way to help manage stress. In the same way stress is a physiological problem. So origami engages both the mind and hands to produce a calming effect. The art of origami involves folding and creasing paper. This uses both sides of your brain. The brain is divided into two halves as we know, the right hand side controls the left hand and the left hand side controls the right hand. As you engage your mind to tell your hands what to do this gives both mind and body a channel or focus. As both mind and body are absorbed in the detail of folding and creasing the paper. The design starts to take shape into something aesthetic you become more like yourself. The sense of fulfillment and resulting satisfaction help relieve the symptoms which you felt beforehand. Simple origami folds and creases can be used to make a wide variety of designs. Including animals, the Japanese crane is a starting point. Which can lead on to many others from cats and dogs to elephants.
There are lots of good things to be got from origami. Once you have mastered the initial folds and creases. As ones confidence gains momentum, you can take your experience and attempt more complex designs. The method of folding remains the same, whether the design be complex or simple. I.E. the patterns are not determined by different fold types. But from the manner in which the folds are put together, forming different designs. So once the basics are mastered you are only restricted by your imagination! Recognizing the symptoms of stress is part of the battle, being proactive about managing that stress ensures the stress is minimized. As a method of balancing your body and mind origami certainly helps. If you establish a routine of setting aside even ten minutes daily to developing your origami skills this will aid in a less stressful life.