In life, we are constantly bombarded with deadlines, demands, responsibilities, expectations, circumstances, situations and NOISE that act as stressors in our lives. For so many, this kind of constant stress has become a lifestyle and is “normal”. But depending on how we view this constant stress and how we create harmony from it, we are either doing it right or we are really hurting ourselves. Not all stress is bad, stress is force exerted onto oneself, therefore we can use stress to propel us to take action and get something done. For stress to be good it has to come in small dosages and we have to view it as something positive or as a good challenge to overcome or endure. Ideally, the stressor, the situation causing you stress, will influence your actions making you more efficient and effective without negatively affecting you mentally, emotionally or physiologically.
According to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. Stress can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off disease. If you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse. Charles W. Mayo, M.D says “worry and stress affect the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects heart action”.if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have negative effects. Stress has been linked to
Stress can also make you moody, tense, or depressed. Most importantly to note is that your relationships may suffer which would carry over and affect your work, school or any other activity that you might be involved with. Who wants to be in a relationship where the other person is constantly moody or in a state of depression anyway?
So, how do we deal with stress? What do we do with it?
American psychologist William James said that “our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” What that means is that we have to make conscious efforts to focus our thoughts in the positive direction. in other words, we have to see stress as a positive. If we view the stressor as an opportunity to grow, learn or as a challenge to overcome that we are more likely to reap the benefits of stress. But if we see stress as a negative, if we try to avoid it or ignore it or worse yet, hide it then it is bound to have a negative effect on every aspect of who we are.
Hypnotherapist Maureen Killoran says “stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. And the response is something we can choose”. Every situation can be interpreted to mean what we decide it means; the key to not producing unnecessary stress is to be very clear on the difference between fact and fiction. Ask yourself; what are my interpretations, assumptions, and beliefs about the issue? What else could it mean? Then move towards a solution by asking yourself, what is the best thing I can do now?
Just please don’t fall under the percentage of people that revert to unhealthy activities to cope with stress. Research has shown that a large percentage of Americans turn to drink alcohol, smoking or other negative activities to cope through stressful periods in their lives and that can lead to addictions, loss of money, poor relationships and health complications – so don’t!
The bottom line is that stress occurs when we dwell for too long on a situation or circumstance (the stressor) that we feel consciously or unconsciously is beyond our control and when our focus and perspective has skewed from reality. We all have the ability to manage the stressors and most importantly manage our thoughts. To begin eliminating stress from your life today:
- Recognize what is causing the stress. Keep a journal. Start noticing patterns, situations, people or events that trigger the stress. Take time to empty your mind on paper, it will allow you to see the big picture.
- Define what reality is and what fiction is in every stress producing situation. What is truly happening and what are we making it mean?
- Create a plan of action with the necessary support. Decide what is important and where your focus should be. Find the help you need. Realize that your best is all you can do and all you can do is enough.
- Continue to move forward becoming consistently more aware of your thoughts and focus.
- Find your stress relieving activities and do them often; like keeping a calendar, exercising, eating healthy, getting plenty of rest or meditating. The important thing is finding something that works for you.
- See stress as a POSITIVE, as something you will learn and grow from or as a challenge you will overcome.
If stress is something you are dealing with and you are seeing it affect an area of your life, it is time to do something about it. You got this!