I'm going through a rather stressful time right now that is mostly work related. I got to thinking: I can't be the only person in the world dealing with stress. :-) Then, I figured that maybe one or two of you folks are also dealing, or have dealt with, stress. So I thought I'd ask your opinion on how, or even if, Aikido can help one deal well with stress.
Some answers are pretty obvious. Training itself is one of the best ways that I know to start feeling better, more relaxed, and more capable of dealing with the vagaries of life and work. It's pretty well known that exercise of any kind can be very beneficial to one's mood as well as one's health. However, I think Aikido has additional benefits when compared to other forms of exercise.
For example, Aikido training is intellectually stimulating. We are constantly challenged to look at things in a different way. We train our minds as well as our bodies. Another benefit is that we train cooperatively. We focus not only on our actions, but also on how those actions affect our partners. There are, undoubtedly, many other benefits that I haven't mentioned, but maybe you could.
Still, as good as it feels to train, and as good as I feel after I've trained, I spend far more time during the week not training than I do training. What tools do you think Aikido gives us to help deal with stress when we're not actually in class?
One thing I've found myself doing a lot lately is working on sword strokes, either with a "ghost" sword, or in my minds eye. I find that the mental exercise helps me get centered and calm. Who knows, it may even help my sword training. :-)
So, how does Aikido help you deal with stress?