March 21, 2014

Is Stress Stressful? ~ Dina Omar


“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

~ William James

In the last article in this stress-busting series, we saw how stress could be detrimental to our health. How it does a lot more than merely “cramp our style”—it sets the stage for many ailments, many of which are quite serious.

The predicament here is that stress is unavoidable. It’s a normal part of our daily lives.

mindlev.comBut why should that be a big deal?  Stress, after all, is not all bad.

In a very real sense, it’s actually a life-force!

In appropriate amounts, stress keeps us fueled and engaged. Without it, we would be walking zombies. It can be a kind of jolt of energy to help us move on with our daily activities, get to work, and act in cases of emergency.

You see, there is such a thing as “Positive Stress.” We experience it when we get promoted at work, when we have a compelling goal, and especially when we fall in love.

The only problem is that our bodies can’t function properly when high stress levels are present for prolonged periods of time.

The good news is, just like we create a stress-response, we can also create its antidote: The Relaxation Response.

Herbert Benson, who coined the term relaxation response, defined it as: “a physical state characterized by a slower heart and metabolism rate, breathing, lower blood pressure and slower brain waves patterns.”

The relaxation response is the body’s natural healing mechanism. Each of us responds to stress in a different way, both emotionally and physically. A person who is generally anxious is likely to see a stressor as a threat, whereas someone who is generally resilient will see the same stressor as a challenge.

It all lies in our perception, how we appraise our experiences.

Indeed stress can be an unstoppable motivator—if we learn how to manage it. And according to Dr. Wayne Dyer, we can master stress by, “re-training our minds to process life as it is, rather than as we think it should be.”

As soon as we recognize that the stress in our life is exceeding the normal amounts, we should work on calming our mind and bodies. We can relax in so many different ways, but our focus here is to find those relaxation techniques that are experientially more reliable and involve a degree of withdrawal, like meditation and yoga practice, or the other great techniques mentioned in this fun infographic.

To quote William James’ insight on stress: “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

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Editorial Assistant: Jessica Sandhu / Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives, mindlev

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