Cure #8: Are You STRESSED? Find Out! Learn How to Manage Stress!
So What is STRESS After All?
Stress is triggered by any event that disturbs your physical, mental, or emotional well being. It is your body's adaptive "flight or fight" response to the events it perceives as disturbing/threatening to your safety or well being. Whenever this stress response kicks in, your blood rushes into your muscles, adrenaline is pumped into your blood, and your heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure increase. You're STRESSED!
Where Does Stress Come From? Humans evolved the stress response to fight off wild animals. Today, stress itself is the "wild animal". Untamed and allowed to run rampant in your life, "bad" stress can kill you. This is not to say that all stress is bad: "good" stress is an essential part of successful living.
"Good Stress" is a balance between excitement and relaxation that can help you concentrate, focus, and achieve what you want. Good stress helps you become centered, clear, and ready for action. Long term, good stress releases your energy and helps you to become more of who you are.
"Bad Stress" is a never ending, constant arousal and anxiety causing your body to react with heart palpitations, continual sweating, stomach acidity, muscle spasms, and high blood pressure. Long term, bad stress can cause irreparable damage to your physical and mental health and well being.
What Causes Stress? Stress is caused both by your "interpretations of" and "responses to" situations going on "outside" and "inside" you. Notice that it is YOUR interpretations and YOUR responses which cause your stress. It is not the situations which cause stress but how you deal or do not deal with them.
"Inside" causes of stress (internal stressors) include such things as:
"Outside" causes of stress (external stressors) include such things as:
How Can Your Manage Your Stress? Here are the two simple steps...
1> Identify whatever it is that is
causing you stress response to be triggered.
Identifying your stress is easy. Just become aware of your body as you respond to different situations that you encounter in your daily life. Then ask yourself, "Does this situation, event, person, place, or thing "
Pick the stress reduction techniques that work best for you. If you want to avoid the stress of picking a technique, here are two that are quick and easy:
The EASY technique is just making a concerted effort to avoid whatever it is that is stressing you.
When using stress reduction techniques, remember two things:
Your first goal is to learn how to lessen the impact of stress whenever you feel tense.
LifeStyle Choices: Good health is 20% heredity and 80% lifestyle choice
Decrease your caffeine intake (coffee,
tea, chocolate, colas) so that you can relax.
High Risk Personality: It will be hard to change but you can do it, if you try
Go against your type - let the
answering machine get your calls when you are relaxing.
Negative Self-Talk: Looking at things more positively is a skill requiring practice
Learn to see problems as opportunities
and discard negative thoughts.
Mind Traps: If you are imprisoned by your mind, here is how to escape
Find time for self
renewal-rejuvenation: do something to elevate/feed your
Daily Living: Make your day a little easier on yourself
Have a place for everything and
everything in it's place - it saves on "search
Environment: Do what you can to make your world a little more livable
Too much noise
wear earplugs or
ear protectors or ask others to "just keep it
Social Interaction: Other people can be the greatest source of your stress...
Do not expect total harmony
all the time in relationships (real life involves
Legal/Community: Try to join rather than beat the system...
Leave a few minutes earlier so
you are not forced to "beat the traffic" or
Major Life Events: Paying attention to managing your stress is CRITICAL
Assess your stress by using the
"Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment Ratings
Before using any of these techniques, click here for a "Word of Caution."
Credits: adapted from the "Stress Management Seminar" by Tracy J. Clark
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Past & Now Forward Holistic Counseling,