What Is Stress?

Mikki Broughton is serving out of Concord, CA, providing online services to surrounding communities

What Is Stress?

Are you feeling stressed? How many of us don't experience what we call stress....nobody that I know, that's for sure. There are many things that can trigger a stress response in us......aging parents, relationship issues, financial difficulties, divorce, the worry and concern of parenting teens, job insecurity, free floating anxiety, you name it.

The dictionary defines stress as "a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc., something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety".

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) states that the workplace is by far the largest source of stress, and it has escalated over the past few decades. It has also found that the two main causes of workplace stress are excessive workload and people issues. Stress is triggered by the perception of having more change or demand than we feel we can handle (control). Another way to put it is that our deepest emotional needs are going unfullfilled and we are at a loss as how to address that.

So, if we all experience stress to some degree, and it is a STATE OF MIND, how does it effect us and what is it that can be done about it? Science is beginning to concede what the body/mind folks have known for some time and that is severe stress over time can cause serious physical problems of many sorts. So, in that case, it's a good idea to find a way to get a handle on addressing and reducing it as much as possible. And, how do we do that?

AIS recommends a variety of approaches to help with the experience of stress...psychotherapy, yoga, mindfullness meditation, deep breathing. To start: a quick and easy ...inexpensive approach is to begin the process of changing our mind (ie., our beliefs)....usually tied to our perception of perfection in various ways...by reminding ourselves of a couple of little mantras several times a day.

My favorites are: Reinhold Niebuhr's SERENITY PRAYER..."Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". The other is an ancient Hawaiin healing mantra called Ho'oponopono; Speaking to the Divine AND the child within...."I'm sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you."

Most people find those two mantra's very calming and especially effective just as you are drifting off to sleep and just before you are totally conscious in the morning. During intense times, you will want to remind yourself many times a day and,....it will make a difference. Exploring some of the other techniques listed above would accelerate your progress....and peace of mind.

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