Freedom from Stress

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Everyone occasionally experiences stress. Whether you’re always in the fast lane at work, juggling hectic family demands, or striving to navigate difficult relationships, chronic stress is a natural byproduct of life.

What if you actively took steps to manage your stress? Would your life be different? Would you feel better? Of course, you would!

Fortunately, you can implement some easy strategies to get a handle on stress. This article is part 1 of a three-part series dedicated to stress. This first article will help you understand what stress is and why some of it is necessary to help you get through the day.

In Part 2, I'll discuss how people typically react when under stress and discuss some destructive behavior patterns commonly used to try to manage it.

Finally, in Part 3, I will provide a toolbox of effective stress management techniques that will aid you in addressing unhealthy stress as soon as it begins.

What is Stress Anyway?

You’ve probably heard the term “stress” used in several different contexts. In this article, stress is defined as mental or emotional strain you experience due to any tension-causing situation. The word “stress” is also used to describe challenges that bring about feelings of anxiety, tension, or worry.

These elements are also often included in various definitions of stress:

Fight or flight response. There are biological roots involved in the development of stress in your body and mind. Humans respond to a perceived threat in one of two ways: they either run away (flight), defend themselves (fight), or freeze. This is known as the “fight, flight, freeze” response.

This biological reaction isn’t usually within our control. Our bodies release hormones that cause us to either fight what’s happening (the stressful event/situation), to flee from it, or to shut down. However, once we’re aware of our reaction, we can usually choose how to act in response to it.

Perceived loss of control. One important element of stress is a thought that you don’t have any control over an event or circumstance. If you’re involved in a situation in which you feel helpless or like you have to wait for others to take care of whatever’s happening, you’re likely to experience some anxiety or tension.

Change. One of the most integral aspects of stress is change. Many people experience tension or worry whenever a change occurs in their lives. Even though a shift might be good, you may still experience feelings of anxiety.

Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.

–Natalie Goldberg

Is There Such a Thing as Positive Stress?

A certain amount of stress is positive. In fact, our very survival depends on our biological stress response. Our stress response enables us to protect ourselves from danger. It readies our body to react to real threat. It motivates us to do what we need to do to survive and thrive.

So, there is indeed such a thing as positive stress. And we all need it to provide momentum to accomplish our goals throughout the day.

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.

–Hans Selye

In part 2, I'll be discussing the causes of stress and what common responses to stress look like. If you would like to have all this information right away, I have an eBook available that discusses stress in more detail. You can sign up to download the book for free by clicking on the button below. 

Click here to sign up for my FREE eBook - Freedom from Stress

Until next week, take good care of yourself!


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