So if you're one of the many people that are not bound by the many material vices of the modern world, what's next? This is the question I was discussing with my wife as we were in the middle of a conversation about being better people. She immediately said "what about being more reflective, less angry, less stressed, happier, and being able to deal with stress better." I whole-heartily agreed with her at which point in time I promptly made a very non-reflective comment comparing our relationship with another couple's. She pointed out my error and I immediately saw my folly and realized where I was in my own fragile evolution--not there yet; but I don't know if that goal is ever reached, for anyone, in a thousand lifetimes--its all about the journey.
Life is a never ending mountain climb. As soon as you reach a plateau there is another, maybe larger rock to conquer. You know that if you stop moving, if you fail to attempt to climb that rock, the only other option is to descend. So when the external vices are under control it is then the goal to corral the internal vices that can have such a detrimental effect on other things, or people.
I guess its like anything else; if you're disciplined and consistent at controlling the negative thoughts and emotions, eventually they'll disappear. It sounds so easy in my head and looking at it on the computer screen. Its shifting the paradigm. The second part is thinking about where you want the thoughts to go. That is, if a specific situation makes you have a stressful reaction, where to you put that? If you're used to projecting your stress onto others what do you do with it? Usually a stressful situation in under your control to do something about, so it would seem logical to proceed with not projecting the negative feelings upon others and turning them inward, deal with them head-on and come up with a positive solution. This is a simple approach, and there have been many parallel philosophies that have discussed the same course of action.
But that's another dilemma, there is a clear starting point, the stress, and clear end goal, turning inward and making a potentially negative situation into a positive, but what about the middle? The journey? This is the hardest part, this is where the actual "work" is done. But its all just a state of mind, right? Believe it and you can do it, right? Again easier said than done. (sorry about the cliches, but they're true) Maybe, creating some type of emotional tracking system, where it is recorded what the stressful situation is, coming up with solutions to relieve it, following through on the solutions, and reaching the inward, positive goal is the correct course of action. I think this would be poignantly reflective and paradigm changing solution to the dilemma.