“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.” -The Buddha

Would you be more happy playing for an unknown string quartet or a prestigious symphony? Harvard professor Richard Hackman matched symphony musicians with quartet musicians on a host of control variables including income, skill level, and hours spent traveling each month. He found that musicians in a symphony are significantly less satisfied and more stressed than those in a quartet.

The critical factor, it turns out, is control. In a symphony the conductor has total control while in a quartet the musicians are in control. In fact, it was only recently that symphony musicians won the right to take bathroom breaks without permission!

Similarly, hospital patients with chronic pain counter-intuitively take less medication when the pills are left beside their bed than when they have to buzz for a nurse every time they want more. It appears that when the nurse dispenses the pills the patient medicates for both the physical pain and the stress associated with lacking control.

As the Buddha points out, the ultimate control is that of a disciplined mind; self-control. In what ways are you unable to control your own mind? Could this be contributing stress to your life? Check out these Buddha-inspired tips on taming your mind.


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