Introduction to Ding Sum


In the previous section, we explained that stress comes from our own negative reaction to a situation. When these reactions first start, they are actually very small – just a thought or feeling. It may be a feeling of frustration and tension, an angry thought towards another person, or a feeling of loneliness. As these reactions continue to build, they cause us to act in a way that makes the situation worse. we end up hurting others as well as ourselves. Since stress starts from our own negative reactions, we hold the key to reducing stress for ourselves and for the people we interact with.

How does Ding Sum work? Ding Sum helps us reduce and even eliminate stress by addressing it where it first begins – in our thoughts. The practice of Ding Sum begins with “silence our thoughts for 3 seconds”. “Silence our thoughts” means simply to not think of anything. As thoughts come up in our mind, just stop them. Stop every thought, stop every feeling, stop the inner chatter. Silencing our thoughts is effective because it stops the momentum of the negative reaction from taking over us. When we stop our thoughts for 3 seconds, we stop that negative reaction. It’s like stepping on the brakes for 3 seconds to come to a full stop. If after 3 seconds, we find that we’re still reacting with negative thoughts, we can Ding Sum again, as many times as needed, until we are calm.

Now that we have used Ding Sum to stop our initial reaction, we can calmly and clearly think about the situation. Instead of blindly doing what we usually do, stop. Think about what is really going on so we can choose to do something better. Stop to gather all the facts. Stop to consider the points of view of all the people involved and weigh the options. After we carefully review the situation, decide what we are going to do to resolve it, so that our actions are helpful to everyone in the situation, including ourselves.

Ding Sum is about solving problems and helping situations. We keep calm, gather facts, think through alternatives, make good decisions, and then follow through with good actions. When we come to a fork in the road, Ding Sum helps us choose the best way to reduce stress. Ding Sum is a powerful tool that gives us the ability to personally reduce our own stress and even prevent stress, as we go through our day, incident by incident.